John Piper encourages us to let sentences we read change our lives. They can also change our ministries. Here are some from chapter 2 and 3 of Confessions of a Reformissionary Rev. by Mark Driscoll.
They are in no particular order and stuck me at this particular point of my life and ministry.
- “So on Sundays I started carrying a stack of blank notecards in my pocket. Our church was small enough that I knew who the visitors were. I would walk up, introduce myself, and ask a few leading questions to see if they were members at another church or visiting from out of town because I did not want to waste my time. Those people who seemed worth getting to know would get a card on which to write down their contact information, and I would schedule a meeting with them on the spot and write it in my appointment book to ensure we had a scheduled appointment” (61).
- “Therefore, not only was having a church that catered only to people between certain ages narrow, it was also sinful because God loves the whole world and not just white guys between their teens and late twenties” (64).
- “We encouraged the young couples to send us their friends who were approaching marriage, which helped our church grow” (66).
- “Rats are people who appear to have the potential to have a fruitful ministry, but they lack dependability, humility, or maturity. Rats need to be rebuked, and if they do not repent, they must be strategically ignored until they commit to no longer being a waste of time and effort” (80). If it is sinful I might say it would have to be dealt with and the person should be disciplined rather than simply ignored, but after finishing the book I’m not sure if Driscoll does church discipline or what that looks like in their practice.
- “Ducks are disgruntled people who continually quack about whatever they are unhappy about. Ducks need to stop quacking, or the pastor(s) must go duck hunting before the ducks drown out everyone and everything else in the church” (80). I think our pastors should be resolved and prepared for this continually.
- “As the church grows, it also changes. And as a church changes, so does the accessibility of the pastor and his family. As the pastor gets busier with new people and responsibilities, some people are displaced and are not as close to the pastor as they had been. Displaced people are prone to expect the pastor to ensure that their access to him and his family will never change. If the pastor agrees to these demands, he will keep the disgruntled people but not reach any new people because the mission will shift from reaching new people to pleasing old people. No matter what leaders in this situation do, they will lose people and must wisely choose who they will lose” (82).
- “In my church, I had heretics calling themselves Christians, and I had lazy, selfish Christians calling themselves mature. I needed to start making the calls. So I started meeting with people one-on-one and calling them everything from sinners who needed to repent, to leaders who needed to lead, to heretics who needed to leave. It was a brutal season, but I kept going back to my dream in which God said the problems would come from within the church and I was supposed to lead the church and obey Jesus, who was our Senior Pastor” (82).