In the previous blog entry, I made mention of the danger of Ministry Pornography, defined as lusting after other ministries and taking my eyes of the context of where God has me serving.
For the past eight years, I have been serving at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in the Kansas City, MO area. I first started as an intern while attending Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Adult Ministry. After my first year, I came aboard as full time Adult Minister (the joke was I was a slave to the Associate Pastor of Adult Ministries). For the next three years, I thoroughly enjoyed my time serving the Adults at PVBC and transitioned as Interim Associate Pastor for one year before moving into the position of Multisite Campus Pastor.
Why did I share a mini-resume? Just to let you know, I feel for you. I can totally empathize with your situation on the deep desire to grow the church, not just in numbers but in a deep abiding relationship with Christ. I have found that, for myself, I find it very easy to jump on the bandwagon of the newest church growth technique and therefore succumb to ‘Ministry Pornography’.
I wish I could claim this phrase as my own, but I cannot. I must give credit where credit is due. I first heard the phrase recently while watching and participating in Session 2 of Transformational Church by Ed Stetzer and the other guy who runs Lifeway right now, Thom Rainer. Great guys and the material is good discussion fodder for a staff team.
In session 2, they emphasize Missionary Mindset, yet more important – they hone in on context in ministry. Now, I have to admit (woefully) that I have been drawn to such ministry pornography of what is the latest and greatest church growth techniques of the current book circuit pastors. You know what I mean. You attend the latest leadership conference, ie. Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Catalyst, Orange, etc, and arrive home with a bag full of books, brochures, cd’s/mp3’s, and other paraphernalia.
Like a kid in a candy store, I salivate as a tear off the wrapping of the newest book, guide, or dvd pontificating on the next stage of church growth. Now, I am not stating that conferences are bad by any stretch of the imagination. The problem is that I am lusting after what they have! I covet their growth and perceived success. Why does it always seem that the grass is always greener on the other side?
So, to recap, Ministry Pornography is being enthralled in other’s success stories or the latest techniques without realizing what God has gifted for me that is right in front of me. The next blog entry will deal with just that – context.
What are the latest conference you have participated in? Did they help you or were you able to apply something valuable?