Last week I had the privilege of speaking to an amazing group of ministry leaders in Loveland, Colorado specifically about ministry life and helping the church minister to the family. The event is called “ReGroup” and the idea was for leaders to come relax, revive, renew, and regroup. At the beginning of my last session God prompted me to share John 15 with these leaders. As I began to teach, a line came out of my mouth that I am sure is true but was the epitome of “cheesy.”
“We Get Fried Because We Don’t Abide.” I started laughing before it was all the way out of my mouth. As it often does, the cheese stuck, and maybe that is a really good thing.
Ministry life can be draining. As I travel, I am discovering a common theme among many champions of the faith. They are really spent because of demanding schedules, constant ministry needs, and every day responsibility to balance life, family, and ministry. As I think about it sometimes ministry leaders are the most “fried” people I come into contact with. One reason is the very real battle described in Ephesians 6:10-20. Spiritual work is tough but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Spiritual work is best done in the power of the Spirit. We fry when we try to do it in our own strength for any length of time. We truly get fried because we don’t abide.
Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15:4-6)
Ministry leaders, ABIDE. ReGroup every day by exercising the simple disciplines of prayer and Bible reading. You will do more for the cause of Christ if you take time to move away from the email, task list, ministry projects, counseling appointments, speaking engagements, funerals, weddings, staff meetings, events, recruiting nightmares, etc., and simply ABIDE every day. Don’t wait until you fry. Abide today. Why not start by reading and meditating on John 15.