Rev. David Page lives only a few blocks from our home.  He has pastored a mega church for more than 40 years.  I benefit greatly from his wise advice and delicious sense of humor.  However, I’m not able to often get with him.  Because of the differences in our genders, we try to meet only with others, which limits our times together.  In like manner during the past year, I’ve fallen in love with Paul’s writings to Timothy.  Paul was practical in his advice to the young man he was mentoring.  I’ve sat and meditated and reflected on the importance of the wise counsel given by this older Christian man to his much-loved friend.

Paul said to Timothy, “What you have heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus”  (II Timothy 1:13).    There is so much sound teaching crammed in this two short letters.  And I believe there is a pattern hidden there which enriches our faith and love for our Lord.  That is why I can’t seem to get enough of Paul’s extremely personal writings. 

Over the years, I’ve learned much from many people in specialized ministry.  I came to Special Gathering twenty years ago, with a rather confident (some folks would say cocky) sense of my ability to communicate the Scriptures with any number of people.  I’d taught every class where I had ever been invited since I was 16 years old.  While I was especially joyful to be able to teach middle school, junior high and senior high, I was always thrilled by the depth of understanding that children could lap up with a minimal amount of effort on the teachers’ part. 

Adults were the hardest for me to teach because they never seemed as open to change.  Often mature men and women appeared to take hold to Biblical teaching; yet for me there remained a glaring concern.  I’d seen seasoned Christian men and women viciously turn on pastors and teachers who had held their hands and bound their wounds, babysat their children and walked their dogs.  While these adults were rare, they also had a powerful ability to rip a successful ministry apart with a carefully selected question asked in a measured voice or a couple of sideways glances. 

Added to this concern was the fact that no one seemed to possess the ability to correctly discern who the wolves in sheeps’ clothing were.  The most gifted adults often were the very folks who would turn with exposed fangs and rip the heart from a successful teacher or pastor. 

Coming to Special Gathering was a delightful change, people didn’t come to minister to this population for the showy blitz that often draws the wolves.  Our members are grateful for anyone who will dedicate their love to them.  Additionally, they don’t usually possess the sophistication to be able to cunningly destroy others. 

Within this ministry population, pastors and teachers alike are eager to share and help each other.  Of course, there are differences in philosophy that may present barriers for a season.  But as time passes it seems to become evident that many of these hindrances are  superficial, in light of the Great Commission in which each one is valiantly engaged.

Some of the most practical and beneficial advice I’ve been given over the years has been:

  • Learn to pace yourself.
  • Have a set routine for your van routes and communicate those routes to others.
  • Keep your equipment in the car from week to week so that what you need is always available and conveniently packed.
  • Do sermons or teaching on a monthly basis.  In this way, you’re weekly preparation time is cut to a minimum.  You will find at times that you are smarter than you thought you were.  And you will find other weeks that you are a lot more disjoined in your presentation than you should be.  This will give you the opportunity to change and modify your teaching.
  • Don’t start something that you can’t continue.
  • Remember to keep your spirit and attitude open to change. 
  • A growing ministry is a changing ministry.
  • Careful planning in regard to health and safety will allow you to continue to minister for decades.
  • You must have the attitude that you are here for the long haul.  Our members deserve stability.

I’m certain that you have also learned beneficial things over they years, what are they?  Please share them with us.