A Stitch in Time … getting prepared

It dates back to an early 1700s Thomas Fuller collection of Proverbs when we have the first record of “A stitch in time saves nine.” Basically it is about being proactive, fix things now, don’t procrastinate. If you address something early enough, it saves greater energy/effort that it would take to address it later. This could refer to tailoring, car repair, parenting, or anything.

For today, I want to let it refer to planning. My wife plans things out. I dream and get big picture. I see details but often wait (I work better under pressure, no, really). For example, she has her blog entries planned out for a month or more. I am still trying to figure out what to write in this one. When we went through pre-marital counseling together, it was a hoot. Dickson Rial set us down and said we should go through a particulate study. Lisa & I had already done it together. So he said, okay, and said we should discuss the wedding and what we would like to do in the ceremony. At this point, Lisa pulled out her folder and gave Dixon his copy of the wedding agenda. Not just any simple order. It was laid out to the minute for each detail. Dickson said he would have copies made, and he started to get up. Lisa said there was not a need, plenty of copies were made and that was his, you could tell for she numbered each copy in the upper right hand corner and cross referenced the number to the recipient. The girl is organized, plans ahead, and is rarely caught off guard – except when she said yes to me. Oh well, too late – it’s for life!

Back to topic.

I want to share a few thoughts on how does one prepare for the ministry. Now, I am not talking only vocational ministry, but serving anywhere, in any means, however the Lord leads. How do you get ready for it? Here are some of my thoughts for each and every believer, for each and every believer should see themselves as part of God’s Kingdom service. So what can you do to move from pew to getting plugged in? Here are some suggestions …

Start with your personal walk with God. Billy Graham emphasizes a personal devotion life of prayer, Bible study, and daily devotions. You can add other Spiritual Disciplines (a lot out there on this, but check back tomorrow and I will hit the highlights). You don’t have to

Share your desire with church leadership. Some have connections pastors or community involvement ministries.

Start serving now, start small, start strong. Obviously this varies according to your church and what is out there. Look for simple places to get involved like folding bulletins, helping with set up, greeting people, parking lot attendees, drive van for youth, yard work, etc. These are low prep and easy to get plugged into. You will start to get to know people, find your area of passion, and discover other areas as well. Get into the practice of being involved.

– If you have a passion/skill and the church already has that ministry leadership team (missions, women’s or men’s ministry, children, social media, library, etc.) – introduce yourself to that leadership and ask to tag along and get to know the system. It will encourage the team and help you as well.

Look for mentors. See a great kids worker – get to know and learn from them. If nothing else, observe and learn. Listen more than talk.

Look for training. If the ministry area requires some skills, then do what it takes to learn them (media, security, teaching, etc.). Never stop learning.

Be flexible – don’t be too picky. We often have the dream position in mind, but that may just be part of what God has for us and may not be what is needed at the moment.

Don’t be envious. Others may have the job you want. Be patient. If you can be their helper, do that. This is a great way to support others, build relationships, and get to know what is involved in that specific job.

These are not specific details for specific areas, but general principles to start to get plugged in.

Let me close with a re-emphasis on the key aspect of planning. I am referring to prayer. Charles Spurgeon said he would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach. It is that important. It is.

If you plan now on your walk in your personal life, it prepares your heart, your walk, and your mindset for public service. Ezra said it this way … it starts from the inside out …

For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

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