In the last couple of years I have two new friends who have influenced me greatly in regards to my approach to ministry: age and cancer.
While young I did not give much thought to how I did ministry because there were many exciting opportunities before me, coupled with plenty of time. I knew that if one approach did not work then I could always try something else. I have since worked at a Christian college, traveled with an itinerant ministry, participated in church start-ups, and served in both traditional and contemporary churches—all the while being involved in myriad ministry strategies and initiatives.
Age has given me the opportunity to look back over thirty years of ministry to determine what lasted and what did not. I have now simplified my life to do the main thing, make disciples of Jesus.
The day I was diagnosed with cancer, I walked out of my doctor’s office in a daze, went across the street and sat down on a park bench. In those moments I realized that what mattered was God’s love for me, my love for him, the people who loved me, and those whom I loved. I had a new understanding of what John meant when he wrote: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).
I have a new singular devotion . . . to love well. That’s how disciples are made.