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7 Years, 7 Lessons. (Part 2)

7 Years, 7 Lessons. (Part 2)

By Joe Cameneti, Jr. on May 09, 2013

Last week, I posted the first 3 of 7 lessons learned in my first seven years of ministry. If you didn’t get to catch the first post, you can read it here.

Again, my heart isn’t so much to educate or warn you. I’m still learning like the rest of us. This is more of my therapy. It’s nice to get this onto “paper” and begin to look forward to the next season.

I recognize that ministry isn’t easy, and Church staff members (part-time or full-time) have some of the most demanding and emotionally draining jobs out there. I pray this is a type of therapy for you as well – serving as a catalyst to propel you forward in your calling. So here goes… Part two:

4.  Critics Shape My Calling. Leadership, boiled down to its most raw form, is simply tough decisions made under enormous pressure. Others will judge us; sometimes fairly, often times misunderstood.

If Jesus dealt with this, you better believe we are not the exception! (See 1 Peter 2:23)

I love what Rick Warren says to do with critics: Out-live them, Out-learn them, Out-love them.

5.  Comparison is a Killer.  I’d be lying if I told you I don’t struggle with this. In “comparing” notes with other pastors and leaders, this seems to be a massive challenge for them too.

We all want to know how we stack up. “Am I successful?” “What’s the other church running on a weekend?” “How many ‘retweets’, ‘followers’ and “@mentions’ do they have vs. me?” And on and on it goes.

Another word of wisdom from Rick Warren: “Comparison leads to pride or insecurity. Either way you’re dead in the water.”

It’s when we can learn to be comfortable in our calling that God is able to do the most with it! So what if someone’s bigger, more visible or more resourced? The fact is, you won’t answer for others, and they won’t answer for you. God called us to our family, our church and our team. We can make a huge difference when we embrace that and stay in the lane that God called us to run.

6.  Pain has a Purpose.  I used to dread the awkwardness of corrective conversations. Nothing like your boss being your parents! (I’m a PK) Haha… But after years of walking thru it, I have learned to love correction.

Hebrews 12:11 tells us that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but later on it produces a harvest of peace and righteousness for those who have been trained by it.

Over the years, my prayers have shifted from “Get me out of here!” to “Give it to me!” (See also Proverbs 12:1) I now see the value in it, and, dare I say, I even crave correction!

7.  It’s not a sprint, It’s a marathon. It’s easy in our culture to gravitate toward the spotlight, the accolades and the attention. It’s so easy to become consumed with growth and church metrics – missing out on the miracle of maturity that takes place during the moments of waiting and suffering.

In my decades of watching church happen, I’ve noticed that it’s not always the flashy, charismatic people who are left standing at the end of their ministry career. It’s often the slow and steady leaders, the ones who have learned to live for the last day. Those are the ones who cross the finish line and hear “well done.”

I think John had it right…

John 6:39 "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

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