As I sit down to prepare for ministry on Monday mornings, there are a few questions I like to ask before getting started. I really try not to ask them before I've spent some time in the Word of God to be exposed by the power, wisdom, and encouragement that's found when we make ourselves available.
When I'm asking questions first thing, I feel like I have better shot at getting more out of the week--for the sake of the Kingdom and for the sake of my health as a person with limited time and energy. If I want to keep the main things the main things, I've got to huddle up around them and ask some questions before heading out to the field for the next match up.
After that, I get started. There's nothing worse than having a great plan, then ignoring it. It can always be modified and contextualized and even set aside for seasons, but if I run out to the field and ditch all that I know, the result is unhealthy chaos and confusion. Letting the Word of God illuminate our lives, expose what's there, breathe life into us, reveal things, and direct us can give us some really great stuff to work with as we're coming off another weekend in ministry.
1. Open the Word
3. Ask Questions
4. Get started
*What things are on our calendar in the next few weeks, that need my attention today to avoid last minute planning and panic?
*Where do I need to spend my time studying for upcoming messages and conversations that will happen in the next four days?
*Who do I need to call? Think of volunteers, the student you have a burden for, the school administrator you've been praying for, the parent who is concerned.
*When will I think this week? Mark off some time each day to dedicate to thinking and dreaming. I find if I don't do this, thinking becomes and "on call" function that feels like a burden rather than a liberating gift of creativity and strength.
*Why am I feeling ________ (fill in the blank)? Ask this question to peel back the onion of your mind so you can ask God for help. As we grow in grace, lay before God whatever it is that we bring into ministry this week.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for you body." Proverbs 3:5-7