Saturday, May 19, 2012

“We used to do that”

“We used to do that”

It is in the tone of voice.

When I ask people about whether or not they are engaged in some form of ministry, or whether their church is engaged in a particular ministry I often get the reply ‘I used to that’ or ‘we used to do that’. The response doesn’t matter as much as how it is said.

I know I am now going to over-simplify, but these are my perceptions.

One tone suggests that the reply isn’t completed. There is something more to be said. The conversation goes something like ‘we used to do that, but found a better way of reaching people was to do…’ or ‘we used to do that, but our resources were so thinly stretched that we consolidated in order to have a bigger impact’.

I love that tone. It is the tone of a person or a congregation that is willing to push the boundaries in serving Jesus, and yet are willing to assess how the task is going, and then are willing to change to minster best with the resources God has given them. Even though things have changed, this tone hardly ever has a hint of regret about having engaged in the ministry.

The other tone usually comes with drooped shoulders or pleasant warm memories. ‘I used to do that in the good old days when I had plenty of time and fewer pressures’ or ‘I used to do that but despite all the effort nothing much came of it’.

This is so often the tone of resignation. It is the tone of I couldn’t keep it up because my circumstances have changed but I would have loved to continue with the same passion I once had, or the resignation that suggests that I tried it before and I am now too tired or burned to try it again.

I am aware that life and ministries change, and the pressures upon us are always in flux. This is why it is important to keep assessing what we are doing. But how do we avoid the resignation tone? Read more

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