It may be time for you to RESTART. Before working through this self-evaluation, explore the differences between a team player and a ministry parasite here. The antidote to having a parasitic mentality as a church leader is honestly evaluating your motivations and refocusing on the One you say your life is all about.
For the people I lead at Colossae Church in Portland, here’s how I define the church: people selflessly participating in God’s mission of reconciling the world to himself through Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-21).
To hit the restart button, first answer some basic questions about the church. Then honestly evaluate yourself using Jesus’ most basic teachings.
Ask these fundamental questions:
- What is the church?
- Why does the church exist?
- How does a person become part of the church?
- How are we to be the church?
- How do we evaluate and measure the church?
It’s important to first wrestle with your own answers to these questions. (It’s surprising how few church leaders have tackled these basics!) Then sit down with your team or a gathering of friends and explore kindred answers. We all say the church isn’t buildings, budgets, and bylaws. Okay, so what is it? And do you practice those definitions in real life?
Revisit Jesus’ core teachings.
The first thing Jesus teaches people before they become his followers is selflessness (Mark 8:34-35). This prerequisite destroys our gravitational pull toward parasitic behavior.
Even a basic understanding of Jesus’ mission—“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24)—guides us into an others-centered mentality as we work to further spread the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:15-23).
What are the core teachings of Jesus as relative to your ministry goals?