Continually Pray, Discern, & Evaluate: Habit #7 Of Highly Effective Lay Ministers

Feedback is huge. And it can be humbling. These can be our programs and ideas under attack. It can be difficult not to take it personally when someone criticizes what we do. Unless we want to be mediocre, we must be open. I always tell people – give me the good, the bad and the ugly. I need to hear it. My game plan or curriculum might look great on paper, but if it does not work in practice, then we need to revise.

Your team needs to know that they can provide their valuable insight without you taking offense or being defensive. Is this about you or the mission that God has entrusted you with? Remember, this is God’s work, not yours.

Always be open to what the Spirit might have in store for you. Many years ago, I was in what I thought was the perfect setting for me.

I was the youth minister in a large suburban parish in Minneapolis. After 5 years, I was starting to really find my groove. We were making some headway in the ministry, I had many strong relationships and the parish was a wonderful place to be. My wife and I had spent most of our lives in Minnesota so all of our extended family and friends were there. We lived in a cute, little home on the corner in a quant small town atmosphere. It was an idyllic, Norman Rockwell type setting. I thought I was going to be a lifer there. The parish had a cemetery down the street and I would tell people that I would going to be buried there someday. We were set.

That is until a restlessness started settling into our hearts. My wife and I could not shake the feeling that God was calling us to move on. Finally, we entered into deep discernment about our future. We were open to moving anywhere in the country. My wife just had one request – that we move somewhere warmer. The good news is that we had plenty of options being that Alaska was the only state that was colder .

I had visions of moving to Colorado or Montana, as I have always wanted to live near the mountains. My wife was enamored with parts of the east coast. Then this position came up in the Dallas Texas area. Texas was not even on our radar. The idea of cowboys and cattle ranches was not appealing. However, the position sounded perfect and we pursued it with an open mind and heart.

There is a long story attached to this, but the end result is that I flew down for a weekend of interviewing and felt at peace. They offered me the position and I moved my family all the way across the country. We have been in Texas ever since and could not be happier. We call this home now and none of this would have happened if we were closed off to God’s will.

The Lord is in control of the tandem bike and we are along for the ride of our lifetimes. Don’t be afraid to start pedaling in this bike of life. Flying down the hill or riding in the dark will be exhausting or scary at times, but it sure beats just standing on the side of the road.

Thank you for answering His call to serve in ministry. Be prayerful, faithful and generous – serve with a humble heart. You are on this adventure with God – stay close to Him and you can never go wrong!

Bruce Baumann is the Director of Faith Formation at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Plano, TX. He received his Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and has been involved in professional youth ministry for 20+ years.   Bruce is a certified catechetical instructor in the Dallas Diocese and a Life Coach for the Living Your Strengths movement.  He is passionate about training ministry leaders and has had the joy of presenting workshops and retreats at conferences and parishes around the country.