I have spent the last eighteen years going on mission and leading teams on mission through the local church. The Lord has used these years to hone the way I see and lead mission trips. Often, we miss out on the full potential of a mission trip because, though we have a Jesus-centered starting point, we fail to have Jesus-centered goals, measures, and expectations. Here are some things to think about as you plan.
This year, I begin my twenty-fourth year as founding and current pastor of The Brook Church in northwest Houston. Statistics reveal that lasting this long in one church is rare. However, there is a strong correlation between the length of time a pastor stays in a church and the church’s degree of health. So, allow me to share with you some things that I have personally learned or had to learn that have enabled me to make it 20 years. I hope these are encouraging to you no matter where you are in your journey.
Have you ever been surprised at the places and kinds of ministry where God has called you? Sometimes, he asks us to work in the last place we would expect. UBA Church Consultant Sally Hinzie tells of how she got involved in prison ministry and some of the wonderful ways God is at work through his people.
Over the years, I have often heard the phrase, “It’s quicker if I just do it myself.” But is that really true when it comes to leadership? The problem with this approach is that it does not take the long view. It saves time only in the short term. You accomplished in a few seconds or a minute or two what it might have taken you half an hour or more to train someone else to do, but you have trapped yourself. Can we use those extra minutes to invest a bigger opportunity?
Every month, we feature people, events, and ministries we want our people to pray for. So, join us as we pray to and praise God for what He's done, because we're always better together.
I think a lot about helping people know and follow Jesus. It's more than my general mission as a Christ-follower but a specific calling for which God has gifted me and generously offers me wisdom. I have learned to think vertically when it comes to the Kingdom of God—meaning I consider the generations of disciples of Jesus that were before me and I think about the generations that will come after me. We need to give our youth an understanding and framework for persecution.
As a side effect of our Western love affair with personal autonomy, American emotions have become increasingly fragile. A few months ago, I heard someone jokingly say, “Good morning, America. What can I be offended about today?” Social media has given every person a public platform. But instead of using our platforms for culture-cultivation, our sin-scarred hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) are naturally inclined to use them for ventilation.
Are you an over- or underachiever? If you're anything like me, the answer is probably: yes. It's easy to fall into either ditch depending on the task, the season of life, or how much coffee you have or haven't had. Whatever your inclination, the solution isn't to dive into the other ditch; it's to find the right balance on the path forward. We need godly self care—not as an escape but true restoration.
We had the pleasure of sitting down to hear from Ben Ellis, church planter and pastor of Cornerstone Church Ministries in Pasadena. He tells of his call to be a church planter, how Cornerstone came to be, and just a bit of how God has sustained them through the joys and struggles of ministry. As newer members of UBA, Ben expresses his vision for Cornerstone as a sending church and his desire to help other churches catch the same vision.
My husband and I recently visited Shipshewanna, Indiana, to experience an Amish community. The calmer pace of life and the cooler weather were a respite for us from our life in Houston with its frantic pace and hot, humid weather. Their pace of life, value of simplicity, and commitment to living our their faith in a countercultural way really made me think about how we might better live out our beliefs among our community. Here's a bit of what I learned.