Pursuing the kind of purposefulness I often describe here at the blog feels – especially to some personality types – like a laborious chore. But one thing we don’t always realize, one fact that can push us through the hours discerning purposes before deciding methods, is that
we will never find ourselves so sharp
and, when all is said and done, so satisfied
as when we work backwards from purposes to methods.
When we determine the purposes we believe God wants us to aim for, they become our necessities. We must accomplish them, so our methods must bend around them – and no longer vice versa.
And because necessity is truly the mother of invention, we suddenly begin to discover ways and means. Even rapidly. And even along lines we’ve never considered.
It will make the time spent upfront, in the (boring?) planning and purpose-defining stage, completely worth it. You might even find time saved in the end because of how fast Necessity begins birthing all those Inventions.
There are few college ministers who aren’t interested in learning more creative methods. It’s the basis of many of the questions I get, whether I’m speaking at a conference or meeting one-on-one with a campus minister over pancakes. And the only sure-fire way I know to both increase your ministry’s inventiveness and effectiveness is to discern your necessities at the outset.
I wrote on “Backwards College Ministry” in a series. Read it here. (Just start at the bottom. Naturally.)