Posted by: Justin Wallace | July 12, 2010

keep it simple. final thoughts.

I’m on vacation this week. I know, I know…what am I doing writing on vacation?

Well, it’s 11:49PM and I can’t sleep. So, I’m sitting on the observation deck looking atstars and enjoying the ocean breeze. (Are you jealous?)

This will be the final post in a series of posts called “keep it simple.”

Here’s the other posts from the series :: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4)

If I’m honest, which to be honest, honesty is one of my problems…not being honest…but being too honest. Like John Mayer says in his song My Stupid Mouth, “My stupid mouth has got me in trouble…I’ve said too much again.” That tends to be my problem…I speak what is on my mind…and a lot of the times it’s unfiltered.

So…back on topic…

Most of the time I see ministry like I see a sky full of stars. There’s way too much going on to handle, too much to take in and there’s no way to keep count.

I fill my cup way too full.

I try to juggle and it never works. I’m terrible at juggling. I’m LITERALLY terrible at the actual act of juggling. I don’t think I’ll ever be good at juggling…I think this is God’s way of reminding me to keep it simple. If I mastered the art of juggling then I would transfer that into ministry and I would try to do everything at once.

But…I still try to juggle. I try to complicate things. I try to add to my plate. I try to fit more in my cup. I try to add another star to the sky.

The problem with this philosophy…this method of ministry is everything becomes a blur.

When I try to take in the whole sky at once my eyes cross and things become blurry. True beauty cannot be experienced.

It’s a discipline to pick out one star and focus on it’s majesty. It’s beauty. It’s glow.

But when I practice this discipline I experience a fullness that I would have missed other wise.

I’m sure you can make this practical to ministry on your own but let me share two ways that I try to make it practical in my ministry.

1. Pick a point and teach it.

My main job with Impact is a Teaching Pastor. I teach every Sunday night. I do my best to challenge our community to live out the way of Jesus. The best book I’ve ever read about preaching and teaching is Andy Stanley’s Communicating for a Change. If you haven’t read it…go order it and read it. Andy Stanley helped me practice the discipline of picking a point and teaching it. Before I read this book I would try to cover the whole sky of stars in each teaching. I had several points…and by the end I usually left people with a blurry perspective. Now I do my best to pick a point and teach it. I might look at that point from several angles but I do my best to communicate one point. This takes time, patience and discipline. But, in the end it helps me keep it simple and it helps my listeners keep it simple. It’s a win, win.

2. Take them somewhere.

This past year I started challenging our freshman Community Group leaders to know where they wanted to take their students. This is how I put it. Have 10 things you want your freshman to know at the end of the year and hammer those 10 points all year. Rather than trying to cover every thing, every star in the sky, in one year, pick a few things that you think they MUST know and stick to those. This helps the leader know where they are leading. It helps the follower know where they are going. As the leader you need to know where you’re taking those you are following. If you try to take them in too many directions you’ll leave them blurry and confused. Pick a few destinations and take them there.

Too many times as Pastors we try to cover all the stars in the sky. This leaves us and those we’re leading with a burry, confused, unfocused perspective. Pick a star and study it’s beauty…there’s enough beauty in that one star to keep you busy for a while. Someone else will study the other stars and explain their beauty…you don’t have to cover them all. Rather than trying to have 1000 things on your plate…just pick 1 and run with it…Let someone else run with the other 999 things.

Keep it simple and you’ll experience true beauty.


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