If summed up in a single word, ministry is simply “readiness.” 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7. The expression and manifestation of the Holy Spirit is given to me for the benefit, advantage and profit of others.

I’ve always been perplexed with the basic view of ministry as something one must get into or sign up for, as opposed to it simply being someone you are. Lingering over ministry there looms a black cloud that implies if we’re not involved in one of the many categories or vocations of the standard ministry pool, then we are not serving the Kingdom, and therefore not in ministry. Not to negate the many core areas of need in the Church, but vocations are nothing more than things we do. As such, they can be done out of bondage, obligation, pressure and selfish motives rather than desire… turning them from ministry into misery where the heart is tainted and the results anemic, if that. True and lasting ministry resides in who we are being while doing the things we do - in vocations or otherwise. It’s about the posture of our hearts being in that special space where the fruits of the spirit are evident through counting others as more important than ourselves. It’s moving in the spirit of giving where for a time we forget about our own struggles, shortcomings, insecurities and agendas and focus on serving others with excellence and without conditions or expectations. This is ministry, and as we share our gifts with others, the fullness of Christ’s presence shines through, tasks are done, and we’re refreshed, alive, and ready for what’s next. The ministry of “readiness” knows no limits where it can show up. The light is always on, shining on others, regardless of location, vocation or situation. 

The Big Question:Do you view ministry as a place you go to, something you do, or do you see it as someone you can be… every moment of every day?

Leadership = Influence

Recently I have been doing quite a bit of “unfettering” in the area of leadership. The simple definition of leadership that I have clung to for years is … the ability to influence others to do great things. Breaking this down, what I love so much about this definition is … … the focus on ABILITY vs. title, possessions, power, compensation, rank, and so forth. And what is cool about that is everyone has ability. It is inside each one of us. Thus, we are all leaders because we all have the ability to influence.

… the emphasis on INFLUENCE. Leadership is an everyday experience because every day we are placed in situations where we are influencing others (intentionally and unintentionally). At work, at home, at the store, on the phone, waiting in line, driving in traffic, interacting with people. With our spouse, our children, our parents, our customers, our co-workers. A great story about Everyday Leadership is a TED Talk by Drew Dudley who shares what is a “lollipop moment” as it applies to leadership. Let’s don’t make leadership something so big that we are afraid of it or don’t believe it applies to us … leadership / influence is an every day opportunity.

… the priority on OTHERS. Leadership is primarily about serving others — not elevating one’s self. One can only lead to the extent one is willing to serve.

… the quest for GREAT things. Leadership and influence can be used for bad things, minor things, mediocre things, the ordinary, the normal. No … let’s use our influence to spark others to achieve greatness.

A passage from the book “Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson inspires all of us to lead and influence …

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone.