A few weeks ago the Lord burdened me to begin writing letters I wish someone would have sent to me in the early stages of ministry. The first one warned Missions Trip John who was flying back from Melbourne after being there on a short-term missions trip that ministry wouldn’t always be filled God’s blessing. The second letter encouraged Support Raising John who had become frustrated with how long it took to raise financial support, and explaining this annoying part of ministry was actually one of the most important.
This week I am writing a letter to Ministry Presentation John who was creating the first presentation with video, pictures, and music that would be used to share his ministry with Churches. At that point creating a video that was professional and organized was my focus. While this is necessary, my letter encourages him to focus more on sharing his story and burden God had placed on his heart than impressive media.
Dear Ministry Presentation John,
Well, the moment you have planning for months has finally come. Hours of editing pictures, inserting music, recording narration, and asking “does my voice really sound like that?” has resulted in a six-minute video presentation that shares the need of Melbourne Australia with others.
I am really proud of all the hard work that’s gone into this video since you have been a perfectionist and focused on creating something professional. Editing the transitions so the video stopped at the same moment the music did. Using a professional voice while narrating instead of your normal emotive (loud) one. Making at least ten copies of the video to see which series of pictures looked the best. Deleting copies of the video that had one thing wrong with them and starting again.
Everything being done with an attitude of excellence is sure to bring Glory to God, but that’s not what people will remember. They will remember your testimony and the story of how the Lord called you to Melbourne.
I have news for you mate…that professional ministry presentation is going to let you down. Churches won’t have computers capable of running it, you will get music but no sound, or no sound and music only to have it blasted out at 40 decibels a few seconds later. You will spend thirty minutes getting it to work perfectly on a Churches computer and then it won’t play at all when you need it to fifteen minutes later. You will be seriously tempted to invest in sock puppets to act out the ministry presentation since they would be more reliable.
Your heart however will never let you down. The stories from Melbourne don’t rely on a software update, audio cord, or mouse click, it’s about sharing the burden God has placed on your heart. And your testimony…looking out at the Southern Cross (constellation of stars in Australia) with tears streaming down your face, typing a letter to your parents saying you don’t want to come home, flying back to Los Angeles dreaming of the day you would return. Those are the things that God will use to burden people for your ministry.
Unfortunately in a few years you will go to the other extreme and rely ONLY on those stories in ministry presentations. This is great for leading people to pray or give financially but now you are the one raising the support instead of God. Eventually those few stories that focus on the burden God placed on your heart will become a “Broadway show” of sorts that will result in losing the Lord’s blessing.
So here’s my advice when it comes to ministry presentations…be yourself. Be loud, be emotive, be emotional, and be silly or goofy. Allow the presentation to give people a glimpse of who you really are instead of Professional John or Broadway Show John. Does this mean you don’t try to create a professional ministry video? Of course not! But when traveling to a meeting your question shouldn’t be “how can I impress these people?”, or “how can I entertain these people?” but instead “how can I share my heart with them.” Because in the end God call on your life is more important than the most professional video.