People often ask: “Larry am I doing what God wants me to do?”
I don’t know but I do know what helps me.
I use ten questions to regularly guide my ministry and spiritual life. Recently, I shared them in church and several people asked me for a copy. (Well, actually it was just mom but she seemed genuinely interested.) So maybe you will find the questions helpful too. Warning: Don’t think you have to check off everything or feel guilty about what you are not doing. These questions are simply meant to be a practical guide for you and your church.
  1. Do I pray regularly? It sounds so simple yet nothing happens without prayer. When I am struggling it is often because my prayer life is not what it should be. Does your church emphasize prayer as a regular and critical part of their ministry? Prayer is always step one.   
  2. Do you have a vision? It is difficult to shoot an arrow if there is no target. So how can you function without a vision from God and goals to help you fulfill the vision? What talents and resources are available to you… to your church? What is needed in your community?
  3. Are we growing in faith? Spiritual formation is a continuous journey of learning, experiencing and sharing the Word of God. Young and old are discovering a passion for God’s Word but don’t always know where to begin. Bible studies and small groups play a key role in spiritual development. Take a class, participate in Sunday school or join a prayer group.
  4. Are you caring for others? What are you doing to maintain loving contact with friends and family? Do you regularly offer encouragement? What is your church doing to care for each other? Most offer shepherd groups, support ministries or prayer chains. Perhaps you can help. The simple gesture of sending a card is a ministry that often works miracles.
  5. Do you cultivate friendships beyond your own comfortable group? If you don’t… why not? Maybe you need to get a life! Just kidding but it’s important that you reach beyond your comfort level and seek to understand other age groups and cultures. You will learn a lot and enjoy an exciting new experience. Young and old, Spanish or Korean, black or white alike have so much to offer but they all need our love and respect.
  6. Am I involved in a community ministry? Is there a Habitat for Humanity near by? Am I doing anything for children at Christmas? Are groups fixing broken down houses for people too poor or sickly to make their own repairs? Is there a “Meals on Wheels?” Every community has needs? To meet those needs God has given us all unique talents. What am I doing with mine? It’s usually not that hard to discover what’s needed and ask: “How can I help?”
  7. Are you a witness? Do people really know what you believe? How can you talk about God without others feeling intimidated or offended? Do coworkers look upon you as someone they can trust? Will you listen to their concerns with respect and love? Are you praying for opportunities to share your faith? My favorite definition for witness: “is the willingness to make a sincere and honest attempt to be a friend in the name of God.”
  8. What about men?  61% of those not attending church are men. The most successful ministries that reach men are: mission trips, building projects and sports. Many men that participate in these ministries become more involved with their church.
  9. Are we reaching single adults? More than 56% of the unchurched population is single. Surveys indicate that many single adults believe in God but feel isolated from the church. We can start recognizing their needs by changing our language. Family night supper implies that you must be married to attend. Instead call it a “Fellowship and Fun” supper. Ministry ideas could include divorce and grief recovery workshops or single parent programs.
  10. What about children? Parents are struggling to provide a wholesome environment for their children. How are you helping? It starts at Sunday school but there are other ideas such as: After-School Ministry, Parent’s Day Out or M.O.P.S. (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) 
I can’t possibly do all that! True but you can do something. My prayer is for these questions to stimulate your thinking. Then, let God guide you. We face a challenge to reach out in ministry in creative ways. The main thing is to be open-minded, be in prayer and celebrate the victories.
In the last few years, I have witnessed many people inspired by God to become involved in ministry. It has been the biggest joy of my life. The excitement of doing something worthwhile for God is more contagious than a flu epidemic and the results are far more lasting and satisfying. So, what are you waiting for? Find your ministry today and may God be with you!