Have you ever spent time reflecting on your ministry?
In a recent gathering where Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountain, spoke, he began his time with the group by asking us to reflect on what we had heard from a previous speaker. Tod even shared a list of questions to begin our conversation.
His questions proved helpful to me, not only that day, but also since then, for reflecting on any given day or week of ministry.
Consider this experiment with ministry reflection. Set aside ten to fifteen minutes and think about the past twenty-four hours, or seven days, of your service to Christ and answer the following questions.
1. What inspired you? What happened over the past twenty-four hours, or week, that excited you about your ministry? What caused you to look forward to a future of serving the Lord and his people? What made you want to offer a spontaneous praise to the Lord or energized you for your ministry assignment?
For me it was hearing from one of our Kentucky Baptist pastors that he and one of his deacons were going into the community to knock on doors to share Jesus and invite people to church. This dear brother also wanted to know where he could purchase Gospel tracts in bulk. I was ready to shout when I heard from him! His actions inspired me.
2. What to inquire? Where do you need to learn more? Did someone ask a question that you need to dig into a little deeper? Are you facing a challenge in your church that you need counsel from others to work through? Do you need to gather opinions in the church before making a major decision? Is there an area of interest that you need to research or learn more about?
The best leaders are also the best learners, and the best learners are always asking good questions. Those who I see impacting their circle of influence are consistently watching videos, listening to podcasters, and asking good questions on a subject or around some topic or issue. These leaders are learners and learners are leaders.
3. What irked you? What happened that irritated you? Did someone say something that got under your skin? Did you receive some news, or a report, that made you boil inside?
Discovering the things that irk you can be a window into your own soul. I am often irked by little insignificant things. When I reflect on them, I discover the problem often lies with me rather than with other people. Of all Tod’s reflection questions this one has been most fruitful personally as it caused me to take ownership of my emotions and get behind the issue to discover why I was frustrated.
4. What is required of you? What action do you need to take related to the past 24 hours? Did God bring something to mind that needs your attention? Did you remember a phone call you need to make or a promise you need to keep? Oftentimes when I reflect, I will remember something that I heard in passing that needs some attention.
Bolsinger’s questions are not the only ones that a leader can ask, but they are helpful. Whether you use this list or a different one you will undoubtedly discover that fifteen minutes of daily or weekly reflection will prove beneficial to your ministry and your personal well-being.
John Maxwell reminds us that the best teacher is not experience, but reflective experience. May the Lord use the discipline of reflection to grow you in your service to Christ and to others.