December 5, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: The Ministry of Inspiration

Brother-Aaron-236x300The late Fred Herman used to begin his speeches by asking audiences: Who was Jim Thorpe’s coach (Today we would ask who coached Michael Phelps) and who taught Albert Einstein arithmetic in the second grade?

His point was that behind every significant person or accomplishment in life, there was a seemingly insignificant person whose influence and instruction empowered these famous people to accomplish the things that made them great.

The other night I was watching an episode of Last Man Standing.

In his video blog, Tim Allen’s character, Mike Baxter, said, “Worry less about who you offend and more about who you inspire.”  Wow! Fred Herman and Mike Baxter got it right.

Whether it be Jim Thorpe’s coach, (Michael Phelps) Albert Einstein’s math teacher, Mike Baxter, a Sunday School teacher, a singer, a preacher, or the person manning the cash register in the checkout lane at the local supermarket, what America needs is people who are more concerned with inspiring others than about who they may offend.

I had the privilege of speaking today at the Western Baptist Association Pastors Conference in Newnan, Georgia.

As I was encouraging those pastors, I made a statement similar to the one above. I reminded them that their congregants need inspiring. I told them that one of the best ways to do this is by learning to give clear instructions and training. It’s amazing how uninspired people become when they are assigned a task for which they have not received instruction or training.

I also told them they needed to learn to be an enthusiastic cheerleader!  It inspires people to have folks cheering for them.

And finally, I told them they needed to remember to celebrate a job well done with their congregants. Boy, if we’ve forgotten how to do anything in the church today, it’s how to celebrate!  In short, I told them their congregants need somebody to inspire them. Come to think about it, everybody does. I am convinced that the real heroes in American culture today are not necessarily the “doers.”  (Although they are vitally important!) The real heroes are the “Inspirers!”

May I make a strange statement for you to consider? Real “Inspirers” are intentional in their actions. It’s not something they go about “willy-nilly.”

It’s something they do with passion and meaning. It’s a place they go “on purpose!” It’s their Spiritual giftedness. It’s their life calling. Their joy and satisfaction is not found in winning the prize. Their joy and satisfaction is found in finding, inspiring, and developing those Diamonds in the Rough who go on to win the prize.

I would dare say that each person reading this article today can name at least one person who has  inspired you to be better than you are. My question is: Have you inspired somebody else to be better that they are?

The Ministry of Inspiration is not hard. It consists of things such as your presence, a smile, a nod of approval, a compliment or pat on the back, constructive criticism, a hug, wiping away a tear, encouragement, applause, a hand up, and most importantly – your time.

What God’s church and America need today more than anything are those who will engage in a Ministry of Inspiration. The question is not if we can inspire others. The question is whether or not we will.  Remember, “Worry less about who you offend and more about who you inspire.”

Brother Aaron

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