Effective ministers do not seek to change the world, they seek to change their part of it. This is often the difference between ministry and effective ministry.
Too often our hearts are bigger than our gifting, ability, energy and spheres of influence. This generally leads to resources spread way too thin, long days without much payoff, and ultimately burnout.
Effective miinisters understand who God has made them and what He has called them to do; and they pursue it with a singular mindset.
One of the most difficult challenges in ministry is to give ourselves to the tasks God has called us to and only those tasks.
Here are five tips on finding our mission and the corner of the universe God has called us to affect.
1. Join a Church. The church is the body of Christ. It is His arm for doing the work He is at. Don't just believe in the Church, give yourself to one. Don't just go to a church, belong to it. This is God's ordained structure for carrying out His work. He created the Church to be a body and parts are not nearly as effective outside of the system they were created to support as in them.
2. Identify the Need. More than anything else "need" directs our path. There may be things we're good at, there may be things we like, but "need" is the primary directive of God's work. What does your church need from you? What does the world need from you? What can you offer them? Remember that many of God's greatest servants were called to missions outside of their gifting and to missions they had no heart for. God grows servants, leaders are just a byproduct.
3. Identify Your Gifting. What are you good at? What can you do that others cannot? How has God uniquely gifted you to meet the needs of the world and the Church? Gifting allows us to meet "needs" more effectively than someone else might.
4. Identify Your Passion. What do you have a heart for? What is happening in the world and at church that really gets under your skin? Often passion, correctly applied, gives us a glimpse of God's own heart. Our passions identify the aspects of service we are most likely to naturally work hard at affecting. They also often identify those aspects of ministry we are most likely to enjoy.
5. Identify Your Market. Who are you most likely to appeal to, care for, connect with? Our "market" is that group of people that we most naturally identify with and will be accepted by.
When we walk down the list from top to bottom and apply each aspect, we are likely to find ourselves in the sweet spot of ministry; that place where we are, both, most fulfilled by, and most effective at.