Today our church staff spent a few hours with J.D. Greear (not to be confused with T.D. Jakes…long story) at a retreat. J.D. is the pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham area of N.C. It was a really encouraging-challenging time for us as a staff, and me personally. J.D. shared God’s story as it pertained to his life and ministry. He also shared about the innovative ways that The Summit has been able to reach their community for the glory of God. But the most lingering thing that I walked away with came from one simple exercise he led us through.
J.D. gave us a list of questions that was intended to be a guide through a ‘motive purification process’. In ministry it is often easy to justify different things by using ‘God talk’. It is easy, as J.D. said, “for people with the idol of success to hide in ministry”. Often we wrongly base our success and failures on the opinions of others, and other standards that are far from our primary purpose as ministers; which is (in my opinion) to show/tell others of God’s mercy and grace in the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Ministry is about nothing else but the glory of God. It is good to check yourself often, so here are the questions,
1. When are you most depressed?
2. What makes you really angry?
3. At what point in your life are you the happiest?
4. What makes you worry the most?
5. What do you look down on others about?
6. What has made you bitter in life?
7. Whose approval do you seek?
8. If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?
9. Where do you turn for comfort?
10. What do you really sacrifice for?
I don’t think I need to apply these for you, they are pretty clear. These questions are very revealing of our sinful motives, yes…even in ministry.
Note: This reminds me of a poem that C.S. Lewis once wrote (Click Here).