As a starter, let me recommend the one entitled, “On Loving Ministry.” Here is an excerpt:
Loving ministry is more than loving the act of preaching, teaching or counseling. Loving the idea of preaching is a love for words. That’s a love for having folks listen to you. Truly loving ministry means loving preaching so much that you invite hell to the ring to meet God’s power. And the fight is not waged with mere words, but with power. There is no diplomacy in Christian ministry—only artillery. And loving ministry means fighting a real enemy with sticks and bats, spikes and knives, not negotiating with it with clever speeches. Loving ministry is not merely loving the fruits of ministry, but getting our hands dirty in the soil to plant the seeds.
Loving ministry means devotion to see God’s power transform lives and overcome ultimate evil ultimately. Loving ministry is to welcome the worst in people because that is where God is at work. Loving ministry is fighting in the ring with hardened husbands and broken wives, cheating spouses and damaged children, abusive families and oppressive regimes. Christian ministry is not being impressed by tri-color, glossy brochures but being compelled by war-torn, blood-stained letters crying for reinforcements. It is a life spent behind enemy lines in shallow trenches.
As pastors, our lives are devoted preach words, teach words, arrange words, counsel words and write words. Yet, Christ’s church is not led by clever wordsmiths, but by men abandoned to swim in the deep with bloodthirsty sharks. If not careful, pastoral ministry can become a mere lifelong accumulation of words. And when the words fail we fail. At that point our effectiveness is only as strong as our vocabulary.
Thanks for being willing to share your ponderings with all of us, Barry. May the Lord continue to bless and use you for His church.