Posted by: Joe Blanchard | June 21, 2010

keep it simple. part two.

*This is part two in a series of blog posts titled keep it simple. You can also read part one here. Part two is written by Joe Blanchard, Campus Minister at Campus Christian Fellowship at North Carolina State University.

I had a draft for this post all typed up, ready to explain, in detail, principles and theories about keeping ministry simple. But I’ve decided to go a different direction.

My wife and I took a spontaneous trip to the beach last week. It was very restful and refreshing!

Why does it always seem like God is a little bit closer when my toes are in the sand and the surf rushing over my feet? It’s definitely my “happy place.”

Late one afternoon we went out sailing with my dad and it struck me – ministry is a lot like sailing.

Sure you can get caught up in all the details…how the pulleys, jigs, sails, rudders and mast all work. You can make sure that you always have the best of the best equipment and use the latest and greatest techniques. All that stuff has it’s place, but the reality is that sailing is simple.

It’s all about learning to feel the wind.

Once we know which way the wind is blowing, then we can set our course and begin to navigate the waters. Sure, a sailor can learn all the techniques and have the greatest equipment, but if he can’t FEEL the wind then any time in the water will be confusing and exhausting.

Our job as ministers is to keep the boat in order. Our job as ministers is to raise the sail through prayer. Our job as ministers is to remember and celebrate that it’s God who provides the wind.

Sometimes the wind is so strong that we feel like the boat is going to fly apart at the seams and we hold on

for dear life! Other times it feels like the wind has totally stopped and we fall to ourknees and beg for guidance. And then there are the times when we can’t figure out where the wind is coming from, or it seems to be coming from the wrong direction, it’s during those times that we “tack.”

Tacking takes a lot of work and at times can be very frustrating, but it’s absolutely essential to do if you want to make any forward progress.

More than anything we as ministers must feel the wind. Get out there and raise your sails daily. No one who has ever sailed would argue against the fact that the greatest feeling is raising your sails and feeling the wind ‘catch’ – and the boat begins to move.

If we are not connected to God and His life giving Holy Spirit then we start trying to row the boat ourselves. And that is when things get really complicated, really fast.



  1. Joe…just been sailing for the first two times in the past month. Loved it! Or, I would not have known what you meant by “tacking”!

    Our instructor told us, “I can explain to you the physics of why it is so…but, you just need to get out there and “feel” it.”

    The feeling it part can be tricky. Definitely been in seasons of ministry where I felt it, and times I depended on trusted mechanics to keep me going.

  2. […] the other posts from the series :: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part […]

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