One of my great joys in ministry is overseeing the 12Stone Residency Program, training up the next generation of church leaders. Whitney Steele, a resident who serves in our Worship Ministry, will be sharing her leadership wisdom on the blog today on the Discipline of Commitment.

It takes disciplined commitment to be an effective leader

Discipline: activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.

Commitment: a pledge or promise; obligation.

Working in ministry is a wonderful honor. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t thank God for this calling. As I have grown up in ministry (It runs in the family) and then walked the path of my own calling I have noticed how discipline plays a heavy hand in your own personal growth as a Christian and leader. There are a lot of different categories where discipline is important but I’m going to specifically focus on the idea that we are called to grow our roots deep in one church body instead of spreading ourselves through multiple.

Leaders commit to one church body

There is a mentality that seems to be growing popular that “if I commit to multiple church bodies/ministries that I will grow.” But there doesn’t seem to be any fruit coming from this thought. So why is it still becoming popular? Why does it still seem like a good idea? There are multiple reasons why this trend is still growing.

  • People seem to think they’re tying themselves down and “limiting God” by sinking into one church body
  • The place they’re at doesn’t fit them quite right so they explore multiple places with regularity to get their needs met
  • They feel this pressure to grow by exponential amounts so they dive into whatever they can
  • And finally, especially in this new generation of adults, the idea of being “permanent” feels like a chain and induces claustrophobia

1 Peter 2:5 says “…You are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are His holy priests. Through the meditation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.”

If you think about a temple, and all of the materials used to build it, it’s not very mobile. That’s a pretty crude and obvious way to prove a point, but it works.

Leaders do the math

Let’s break this thought of disciplining yourself to a specific body of believers down into logical math. We, as Christians, are called to offer ourselves up as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). So we commit to this sacrifice by offering up ourselves in service to the kingdom. We want to give 100% of ourselves to a ministry but we can’t give 100% if we are giving 25% in another church’s ministry. This also applies to mega-churches with multiple campuses. A wise mentor once told me “We weaken our commitment when we multiply it.” One cup of water split into several different containers doesn’t fill those containers, but combining it all into one cup can satisfy someone who is thirsty. Your ability to grow isn’t dependent on how many ministries you touch; it’s dependent on your discipline for depth and depth comes from commitment.

As leaders, we are supposed to model this discipline. When we act flippant about commitment and discipline this gives our volunteers permission to act the same. We can’t expect our people to understand the value of being a part of one church body if we don’t exemplify it first.

Just remember that God can’t build His spiritual temple with you if you keep moving around.