I believe in relational ministry that is authentic, present, consistent, and passionate.
Everything starts with relationships. The key to impactful ministry is relationships. Ministry should foster relationships with others that bring the community into relationship with God. These relationships are the beginning of discipleship, evangelism, worship, missions, and every other aspect of church life.
The importance of relationships is demonstrated in the relational God revealed in the Bible. Throughout the Old and New Testaments God builds relationships with people from Abraham, Moses, David, and the disciples and encourages them to create healthy relationships with others.
Therefore, as pastor relationships are a top priority of mine. This means striving to build relationships with a congregation and community that reflect God. It also means being a conduit that connects others so that they might develop relationships throughout the church, the community, and the world.
Authenticity is key. Every healthy relationship needs authenticity. Ministry should be an authentic representation of the congregation. This means being comfortable with who we are as a community and building on our strengths while being honest about our weaknesses.
Jesus exemplified authenticity. He regularly proclaimed who he was and how he understood the world, no matter the cost. This authentic expression of his identity eventually led to his death. Jesus is truth, and as his disciples we should strive to emulate that.
Therefore, as pastor I strive to cultivate ministry that is authentic to the community I am leading. This means that I authentically represent myself and my walk with God, and that I call others to do the same. It is also means guiding people in discovering their authentic self and passions, so that they might live into those identities.
To be in relationship with someone you must be present in their lives. We actually have to show up. A church body should be present both in the lives of the congregation and in the community that they serve.
God demonstrates this in the way that God consistently shows up in the story of humanity, most notably through Jesus. The eternal chooses to interact with the temporal in a way that fosters relationships and transforms lives.
Therefore, as pastor, I will be present in the lives of congregants. This means showing up at hospitals and graduations, celebrations and laments, milestones, and the mundane of everyday life. I will also help congregants finds ways to be present in the community through mission projects, events, and simply doing life.
Relationships need passion. Passion is the difference between an acquaintance and friend. Ministry will possess energy when it is something that we are authentically passionate about.
Jesus preaches a passionate gospel. This gospel calls people to be so passionate that they deny themselves, that they give up their own lives. When Jesus describes our relationship with God and others he uses the word love. To love is in part to be passionate.
Therefore, as pastor I will approach ministry with passion and energy. I truly care about the local church and its unique role in transforming the world by fostering transformational relationships with God. I will also engage in practices such as asset mapping that help others discover their passions and interests so that they might approach ministry with zeal.
An integral part of relationships is consistency. Without consistency, authenticity and presence are worthless. A church should be consistent in approach and message to effectively build relationships.
The scriptures reveal a God that is both contextual and consistent. God is faithful throughout time and place. The truths God proclaims throughout history remain true to this day. This consistency gives us hope and encouragement in our relationship with God.
Therefore, as pastor I will emphasize consistency. We will not chase fads. Everything we do will reflect the foundation and mission of the church. This does not mean there will not be growth and change, but that it will be responsible change grounded in the larger consistent truths of our faith and tradition.