Jud Wilhite on the Roller Coaster of Ministry

At Catalyst Dallas, Jud Wilhite of Central Christian Church (Henderson, NV) discussed the roller coaster of ministry and leadership.

Maybe things are going great for your ministry and then a team member has a moral failing. Maybe the offering report tanks.

And then you start thinking…
Maybe I’m messing up.
Maybe I’m not hearing God’s voice.

How do we stay grounded in the ups and downs of ministry?

In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul says God knows when we are sincere. So don’t focus on creating a ministry worth bragging about. Focus on having a faithful and sincere heart. You may seem crazy, but it brings glory to God. Let Christ’s love control you.

We are not called to a spectacular ministry but to a faithful ministry. When you ground your identity in a spectacular ministry, then you are setting yourself up for a roller coaster of ups and downs.

3 Ways to Stay Grounded via 2 Corinthians 5

  1. Do a gut check: are you being faithful and sincere?
  2. Stay a little crazy for God.
    Ministry is about walking into a mess. Sometimes it is your mess. Sometimes it is someone else’s mess. Ministry is messy because sin is messy. But your crazy for God is different from my crazy for God. Figure out how you need to be crazy.
  3. Be compelled by Christ’s love.

Special thanks to Skylark Audio Video for covering my travel expenses so that I can live blog the conference for you.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Matt Chandler on Sustaining Gospel

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, Matt Chandler of The Village Church (Flower Mound, TX) discussed preaching the gospel continually.

When God is calling, it doesn’t always mean that you will be cutting edge. God is doing what you cannot.

Don’t view the gospel as something that you need to believe to get into the game and then move on to other things. Paul preached the gospel over and over again to Christians. It is as if Paul believes that the gospel not only saves you but sustains you until the end of the race.

Romans 1:15
So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Paul was talking about preaching the gospel to Romans who had already heard the gospel.

Galatians 1:6-9
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

The gospel is cosmic. Look at Ephesians 1-2.

Phillippians 1:15-17
15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.

1 Corinthians 15:1-6
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

B.B. Warfield says,
There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God.We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be trust as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His blood and righteousness alone that we can rest.

In 1 Corinthians 15:1, Paul says they “received” the gospel in past tense, the gospel “in which [they] stand” in present, and the gospel “by which [they] are being saved” in present future.

The gospel is the meditation of our hearts. It is the meditation of our minds. It is what we go over and over and over again. You don’t have to be a theologian. You just have to know the gospel.

Behind secret sin is a failure to understand the gospel.

Some people say I don’t want to go to hell, and I don’t want God to give me cancer so I will observe these rules. That is idolatry. Heaven is not a place for those who are afraid of hell. Heaven is a place for those who love God.

We have been given three weapons of grace.

3 Weapons of Grace

  1. Blood of Christ
    Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
    God’s glory is made manifest in the fact that he does use us. You don’t need to feel good about you. You need to feel good about Jesus. You have been brought here.
  2. The Word of God
    2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
  3. Promises of the Covenant
    Hebrews 9:15 says, “Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

3 Truths About the Gospel

  1. If someone runs to the gospel, they get it. If they run from the gospel, they don’t get it.
  2. Do you teach your people that sin is an external action or a matter of the heart. Do you attack the root or the branches. If you treat symptoms but not the cause, your patient dies.
  3. Grace-driven effort is violent. Most of us don’t deal violently with sin. People who understand the gospel understand that sin shames the name of our God, so we deal with sin violently.

You’ve got nothing without the gospel.

Can you grow a church without the gospel? Absolutely.
Can you attract a lot of people without the gospel? Absolutely.
Can you do Christian things without the gospel? Absolutely.

You can do all these things except see hearts transformed and worship.

I don’t care about your packaging. I care about your content. You have to proclaim the gospel over and over again. Do you believe it yourself?

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar

Craig Groeschel on Wisdom for the Generations

Catalyst Conference Dallas

At Catalyst Dallas, Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv (Edmond, OK) discussed wisdom for the older and younger generations.

I believe God wants us to work together as younger and older generations. I believe the devil wants to add division between generations.

To The Older Generation

  • Don’t resent, fear, or judge the emerging generation. Instead, believe in them.
  • You were different at one time from those who went before you.
  • If you aren’t dead, you aren’t done.
  • Don’t be threatened by younger generations. Realize that they need you.
  • Many of us don’t know how to delegate. We think delegating is giving people something to do. Delegating tasks creates followers. Delegating responsibility creates leaders.
  • Younger generations need your wisdom.
  • Just be yourself. Don’t try to be cool. Authenticity trumps cool every single time.

To The Younger Generation

  • You need those who have gone before you.
  • Studies show that the younger generation is most often described by employers as entitled.
  • Because the emerging generation feels entitled, when it comes to ministry, you feel you need to do it all now.You want to be in leadership, but you can’t speed up maturity.
  • You often overestimate what God wants to do through you in the short run, and you often grossly underestimate what God wants to do through you in the long run.
  • Always show your leaders honor. Honor publicly results in influence privately. Do not treat your leaders as common or ordinary.Dishonor and faith in the leaders before you limit your church.
  • Some people need to repent for dishonoring the God-ordained position above them.
  • Your generation is the most cause-driven generation of modern history.You are a chosen generation.
  • I believe that you can do what I couldn’t do.

I am doing what I am doing right now because of the previous generations that have invested in me.

Further Reading:
2012 Church Conference Calendar