What sort of ministry matters?
It was great to welcome a good number of people to the Ignite sessions at the recent Baptist Assembly. In the time we had together, we asked people to think of someone whose ministry had really made a difference to them - we then asked them to try to find one word which summed that person up and why it was that they had the impact they did. The graph below is a summary of peoples' responses:
What matters most it seems, are a set of qualities that we might describe as people centered - the words most often used were enabler, encourager, "saw potential in me". A reasonably close second was a sense that someone was real, honest, down to earth, a person of integrity. Others who have really imapcted people are those individuals who have demonstrated tenacity, hung on in there - the word most often used was simply "faithfulness". We also value those who can inspire us, people of energy and vitality who can inject a sense of pupose in others, while at the same time qualities of humility and being an example to the people of God are clearly important. In terms of being an example, we might not be suprised that many people equated this to being Christ-like in their manner.
Other qualities we value are a sense that someone has wisdom and understanding of our Biblical faith, often coupled with the ability to communicate this effectively. Being a leader who is motivated by love for God's people is important, while being evidently Spirit-led and prayerful are important too. Some also identified the impact that an individual could have on larger group - two described this as calming while another simply said "able to change the atmosphere".
These are of course the reflections of a couple of hundred Baptists, offered in a relatively limited setting - but they offer some valuable indicators of what really matters to us as we seek to develop and support leaders and ministers. Thanks to all those who came along to the Assembly sessions for sharing your insights - please continue to follow and participate in the IGNITE initiative.