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Every Church Leader Has 3 Realms of Ministry

Healthy, growing churches are outwardly-focused, always thinking about how to communicate the gospel to a lost culture and bring the next unchurched person into a thriving relationship with God. In the same way, a healthy church staff thinks about more than just how to accomplish the next team project. Great church leaders are kingdom-thinkers with a global vision for God’s glory.

Since the earliest days of Saddleback Church, I’ve challenged every staff member to think about their role in at least 3 realms.

First, you have a ministry to the unchurched.

You may have a role in church leadership related to kids ministry volunteers, creating graphics and videos, or expanding the church’s small groups ministry, but your first ministry is always to those who are lost and far from God. Every church leader needs to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5) and share the Good News about Jesus with your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

As a matter of fact, the reason why we strive to balance the five purposes and make more disciples is ultimately so that more disciples can be made. Every facet of church ministry fits together to create a healthy body that grows and reaches new, disconnected people. Whatever else you may do as part of a church’s ministry team, you have a ministry to those who don’t know Jesus yet.

Second, you have the ministry for which you were shaped and called.

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people“(NLT). This verse applies to anyone, working any kind of a job. Whatever you do in life, do it for God’s glory as though he is your boss (because he is!). At Saddleback, we tend to hire workaholics and then force them to calm down. We hire race horses. Don’t ever expect the people around you to carry the burden of motivating you to do the work of the ministry that God has assigned you.

If you can’t seem to get motivated, it could be that your relationship with Jesus has suffered, you aren’t in the role you’re really shaped for, or you’re physically or emotionally worn out. If you’re feeling unmotivated, talk to someone about it and get to the bottom of it so you can be sure to serve in your sweet spot – the spot for which you are gifted and called.

Third, you have a ministry to your peers.

Almost every church recognizes the first two areas of ministry, but some forget about this third realm. If you’re part of a church’s leadership, you have a third area of responsibility – to serve your peers in the kingdom. If you’re a senior pastor, you should be pouring into and drawing strength from other senior pastors. If you’re a church secretary, connect with other church secretaries. The same is true for youth ministry, kids ministry, small group ministry leaders, and every other area of church ministry.

Look around and learn from other churches. Share your knowledge and resources with other leaders. The kingdom benefits and churches grow when we’re sharpening each other.

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