Enlisting Short-term Mission Teams

Jesus’s command to makes disciples of all nations is for all believers (Matt 28:19).  While we want every Christian to be a disciple-maker, not everyone in the local church will necessarily leave their home for gospel mission (Acts 13:1-3).  Some go; the rest send.  Some go long-term; others can go short-term.  Short-term mission teams can be a valuable asset to assist those making disciples in far places.  Enlisting proper short-term team members is an essential part of ensuring we have an effective and faithful long-term mission impact.  Here are some suggestions for enlisting your short-term mission team.

  • Communicate clearly to the church the mission. Pastors play a key role in communicating and giving “stage time” to the mission that the church will engage in.  Use as many (creative) communication platforms as necessary to inform the church of the upcoming mission opportunity.
  • Work closely with the pastor(s) in the process of recruiting or approving team members. As the shepherds of the church, pastors need to be involved in the decision process of those who participate in the mission effort.
  • Plan an informational meeting. Those who express interest need to know key details (as much as possible) in finalizing their decision. Schedule an informational group meeting with interested persons. Cover such details as:
    1. Location
    2. Purpose of the mission (as it aligns with the strategy of the host missionaries)
    3. Cost (travel, food, lodging, ministry expenses, travel insurance)
    4. Accommodations (lodging, travel, food, etc.)
    5. Expectations of team members (health abilities, type of work, behavior, etc.)
    6. Q&A time
  • Schedule interviews and/or an application process. Whether through an interview with those interested or by filling out an application, this step is important in making sure that those desiring to go are a right fit for the mission effort.  Issues covered in the interview and/or application include:
    1. Personal conversion story.
    2. Description of personal growth (e.g., prayer, Bible reading, church involvement, personal witnessing).
    3. Explanation of why the individual desires to go on this mission effort.
    4. Look for team players. There are no lone rangers in missions.
    5. Gain a feel for the personality of the person and ability to relate well with others.
    6. Willingness to be flexible and serve as needed.
    7. Physical and emotional stability.
  • Inform each interested person of the decision. In many cases, the answer for an interested mission team member will be “yes, welcome to the team.”  On occasion, the team leader, pastors and other decision makers will have to inform interested persons that the answer is “wait”.

Short-term teams provide valuable help to long-term missionaries when those teams are carefully selected and properly trained.  While not every Christian will be called to live far from “home,” every Christian is called to make disciples of all nations.  One way to faithfully live out this disciple-making call is by being part of carefully selected short-term mission teams.

Importance of the Pastor as a Catalyst for Missions

The Pastor is called to be a preacher/teacher within the body of faith.  This place of leadership gives him a unique authority and influence in the local church.  When the shepherd of the flock leads, the flock will follow.   This is crucial for the general health of the church but also for the missional health of the body of Christ.

The pastor is called to be God’s strategist for the local mission field but is also critical for God’s command to take the Gospel to the nations.  When the pastor has a passion for missions the church will be ignited to go into all the world for the sake of the Gospel.

The pastor is vital in:

  • Casting a missional vision.  If it is not said from the pulpit most in the pews do not think it is important.
  • Helping the body of Christ understand lostness.  When the pastor is consumed by the urgency of our work for Christ, it will overflow to the people in the pews.
  • Making missions a regular and important part of worship. Missions should flow from the worship of God.  We were created to give God glory.  When we meet God in worship, it stirs our hearts to make His name known among all the nations.  The pastor plays a key role by seeking ways to make missions a part of worship (preaching on missions, showing mission clips, praying for missions, highlighting mission offerings, using missions’ illustrations in his message, inviting missionaries to speak).
  • Preaching the Word faithfully and challenging the people to live life on mission for Christ.
  • Leading by example.  The church will never be more committed than their leader.
  • Fostering the development of missionaries within the congregation by seeking to grow and encourage those in the family of faith to serve and surrender to a missions’ calling.  Pastors are called to equip up the saints, so that these disciples may be sent out on mission for Christ.
  • Developing a comprehensive mission strategy to move the church to reach its Jerusalem, to have impact in the church’s Judea and Samaria, and to take the Gospel to the farthest corners of the globe.
  • Being an encourager of missions and missionaries.  Invite missionaries to your church and help the church to build relationships with missionaries.
  • Promoting missions giving.  This is the lifeblood of missions, and when we give cooperatively we can do more for the Kingdom than any of us can alone.  The pastor plays a vital role in helping the church to understand why we give to missions and choose to work cooperatively as Southern Baptists.
  • Encouraging the church to pray for missions, unreached people, and missionaries.
  • Energizing the flock to “Go.”

The strength or weakness of each local church’s missionary strategy, missionary support, and missionary outreach will depend, more than any other one element, on the mission-mindedness of its pastor.   

Hope in a Christmas Backpack

Matthew 9:36 challenges us to reach compassionately the harassed and helpless. No demographic is more helpless than children. Here in Kentucky, 26% of our children live in poverty, that’s one out of every four children.  

For the 985,000 children in Kentucky who live in poverty, Christmas doesn’t always come with the promise of gifts—or even a Christmas meal. Every day is more about survival than celebration. But we can help change that.

One very practical way that we can reach compassionately the needy children in our state is through Christmas backpacks.

Last year, almost 8,000 Christmas backpacks were collected in Kentucky for distribution by missionaries and church planters.  Each backpack is a tangible expression of God’s love as it is filled with gifts of clothing, toys and food items. But the greatest gift within each backpack is a copy of the true Christmas story.  Many children have never heard the “true” Biblical Christmas story.

Last year, there were hundreds of decisions for Christ as a result of the gospel message that is shared with each backpack.  An exciting thing about those decisions is that many of them were made by parents and grandparents of the children receiving the backpacks.  The backpacks don’t just provide hope to a needy child, they impact the whole family.

When the backpacks are received by children living in difficult circumstances, not only are the children and their families affected, so are those who prepare and pack the backpacks.  Many churches report that their whole congregation was involved in this ministry, young and old, including those who can’t travel on a mission trip. Some churches reported that working together on the backpacks helped them to focus outwardly on the needs of others rather than upon internal church issues.

Evangelist Dwight L. Moody said, “If I could relive my life, I would devote my entire ministry to reaching children for God!”   How devoted are you to reaching children for God?

Let me challenge you and your church or small group to commit to preparing and packing backpacks for children to receive this Christmas. Time is running out because backpacks must be ready for delivery by early October. It all starts with you – but ends in someone coming to know Jesus Christ and the true Christmas story.

For more information, or to commit your group’s participation in the Christmas Backpack Project, visit:  www.kybaptist.org/backpacks

What is Kentucky MSC?

Many of the missionaries featured in our KYandBeyond blog each month are Kentucky Mission Service Corps Missionaries (or KY-MSC as we like to call them).  You may have heard the term but also may have asked, “What is a Kentucky Missions Service Corps Missionary and how does one become a Kentucky Missionary Service Corps Missionary?”

Kentucky Mission Service Corps is long-term missionary service, as opposed to a short-term mission trip or even partnering with a ministry.

A KY-MSC Missionary is a baptized Christ follower 18 years of age or older, called by God and connected with a Kentucky Baptist Convention church.  He or she commits to serve a minimum of 20 hours per week for a duration of 9 months to 2 years (which is renewable) in a position that engages in or directly supports missions, church planting, collegiate ministry, or evangelism, in cooperative partnership with a Kentucky Baptist Convention church, association, or organization.

The missionary must be an active member of a local Kentucky Baptist Church and go through an approval process by the Kentucky Baptist Convention or the North American Mission Board.  Education and experience requirements are established by a field request from the ministry where they will serve.

Currently there are 95 of these “self-funded” missionaries serving in Kentucky.  They serve in roles from association outreach positions to equestrian ministries, to directors of food and clothing ministries, to pregnancy care center, to homeless shelters, and much much more.  Some of the missionaries have come to Kentucky from other states, while many of them serve in their own state and possibly their own home town or community.

As self-funded missionaries they are supported in several ways.  Some of the missionaries are retired, some work part-time while serving as a missionary, some may have a spouse who works to support the family, and some raise their own support.

As you give to the Cooperative Program and the Eliza Broadus State Missions Offering you are a part of the work of these missionaries.  Although they do not receive a salary they do benefit from CP and EBO through trainings available to them and an annual missionary retreat.  The missionaries can also apply for Eliza Broadus grants and grants through the Missions Mobilization office to help with specific needs of their ministries.

You can also connect with a Kentucky missionary through the “Adopt-a-Missionary” program.  For more information go to http://www.kybaptist.org/adopt-a-missionary,1477.

Perhaps God has called you to serve, or you are already serving 20 hours per week in a Kentucky ministry, and you would like to learn more about becoming a Kentucky missionary.  Go to www.kybaptist.org/msc to learn more about Kentucky Mission Service Corps and/or to apply to become a KY-MSC missionary.  You will find the application at that link.  Or, contact the Missions Mobilization Coordinator at [email protected].

Disciple-making and Short-term Missions

As the eleven apostles wait on the Mountain in Galilee for Jesus, they are filled with mixed emotions.  No doubt they wonder, “What will Jesus say and what will we do next?”  When Jesus appears to the them, the heart of His message is “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19).

Short-term missions is for the purpose of making disciples, not just somewhere else, but among our own church members.  Pastors and church leaders should view short-term missions as a two-point prong—making disciples locally and globally.  We go elsewhere to assist missionaries in their work of making disciples in other places, but we also understand short-term missions as a vital part of making disciples of our own church members.

There is something incredibly valuable about pouring into our own church members while they are away from normal routines and distractions.  Don’t miss this opportunity through short-term missions to have long-term discipling impact on your church members.

Here are some suggestions for discipling your short-term mission teams.

  • Encourage team members to enlist prayer partners. These partners can be within the church, family members, or other believers outside of the church.  Lead them to give weekly or monthly prayer matters leading up to the time of the mission effort.  For the time of the mission effort have your team members give a daily prayer point guide to their prayer partners before they leave.  Also, encourage team members to have at least one prayer partner that prays with them each week leading up to the mission effort. They can pray through facetime, in person, over the phone, etc.
  • Develop personal time in God’s Word and prayer. Nothing prepares the team member more for missions than his/her personal time with God.  Several months before the mission effort, teams can be encouraged to read through certain passages or books of the Bible.  For example, reading through Acts prior to and during the mission effort is a great way to prepare the team spiritually for what they are about to do.  Providing specific prayer guides for the team member’s own spiritual preparation is essential as well.  This might be the first time these team members develop an intentional personal time in God’s Word and prayer.
  • Teach them how to share the gospel. Missions is not missions if the gospel is missing.  There are many tools that can be used to teach teams how to share the gospel.  The point is not one particular method as much as making sure each team member can articulate the gospel concisely and clearly.  Spending time with the team not only teaching them how to share the gospel but giving them opportunities to practice on one another and even in the community before the team leaves is critical.  The goal is not teaching them to be an expert in winning arguments, but simply telling the “old, old” story of Jesus and His love.  The gospel is the power of God for salvation, not our presentation or method (Rom 1:16).  Share the gospel and trust God to do His work!
  • Utilize your time on the field for discipleship. While on the mission effort, being intentional about pouring into the team members is essential.  Taking them through a study in the Bible (like Acts) or a book is a great way to have deliberate discipleship time while on mission (there are a number of short, but impactful books that could be used for this purpose).  Either in the morning before the team leaves out for the day or in the evening when you settle down from the day, walking the team through a planned study time is a valuable way to point the team to God’s Word and apply both the Word and their daily mission experiences to their Christian life. Amazingly, God often uses His Word and the experiences of the team while on mission to grow them exponentially.  Take advantage of that time for team discipleship.
  • Don’t forget when you get back home.  Pray for new habits and convictions that begin to form while on the mission effort to remain once you are home.  Team members often ask themselves and their churches, “now what?” when they return home.  The experiences are often overwhelming and can cause frustration when others back home don’t quite see things in the same way as the team members upon their return.  Learning to leverage one’s experience for personal growth and influence of others is a delicate but important step.  Here are some “when you get back home” suggestions:

1. Remain active with your prayer partner(s). Continue praying with and meeting with others for accountability and encouragement.

2. Stay deep in God’s Word. The habits of personal Bible-intake you begin to form on mission will be life transforming if you stay with them.  Be consistent in your personal Bible time.

3. Don’t overreact by selling everything you own (just yet) nor see everyone else as less spiritual than you. Meditate often on Philippians 4:10-14 about finding contentment in whatever situation the Lord brings your way.  Further, the temptation you will face is one of being judgmental to those who didn’t go, haven’t gone, or refuse to go.  Steady wins the race.

4. Don’t waste your mission effort. It’s easy to merge back into the traffic of life and forget what you experienced through God’s Word and His work. Find one way you can continue serving the gospel in your own community.  How are you living on mission where God has planted you?

5. Remember, the goal is make disciples (locally and globally) (Matt 28:19-20). While the experience of disciple-making globally is thrilling, whom would God have you pour your life into for long-term impact where you live?  You can begin with the study you went through on the mission effort by sharing it with someone else for discipling purposes. Meet monthly or weekly to discuss what you learned with someone else.  In other words, make disciples here and there.

What Can the Church Do to Address Human Trafficking?

HOW SHOULD THE CHURCH RESPOND TO THOSE ENSLAVED TODAY?

“Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves.  Remove your evil deeds from My sight.  Stop doing evil.  Learn to do what is good.  Seek justice.  Rebuke the oppressor.  Defend the rights of the fatherless.  Plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:16-19).

The church cannot ignore the issue of human trafficking.  The church is called stand against evil, seek justice, care for the least of these, and rebuke the oppressor.  Our God calls us to speak out and to reach out.

AS FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST, HE CALLS US TO BE AGENTS OF JUSTICE AND TRUTH… OF LOVE AND GRACE.

What can the church do?

  • Care enough to get involved.
  • Begin paying attention and being aware of those that may be victims of human trafficking.
  • Avoid the temptation to blame the victims for their situations.
  • Be willing to reach out and offer a hand of help and hope to someone victimized by trafficking.  Offer unconditional love and remember that the chains of sin are not always broken quickly.
  • Realize that breaking the chains of trafficking will not come easy; it will require time, patience, and endurance.
  • Understand that not every situation will result in success, but through the power of God, victories are possible.
  • Address the issue of pornography honestly with your church from the pulpit and in small groups.
  • Begin men’s and women’s groups, where individuals can find a safe place to share their struggles and be freed from pornography’s hold through transparency, accountability, biblical study, and prayer.
  • Train church, children, and youth leaders to recognize the signs of abuse and trafficking vulnerability; and seek to increase awareness how perpetrators utilize extortion and weak areas to exploit the vulnerable.
  • Utilize MinistrySafe and their five-part system that provides a framework for sexual abuse prevention in your ministry areas.
  • Be cautious in allowing new members or new attendees to your church in serving in children’s or youth ministry.
  • Conduct Child Protection training for church, youth, and children’s leaders.
  • Develop child protection policies that build in safeguards.
  • Conduct background checks on youth and children’s leaders in the church before allowing them to serve.
  • Teach Biblical sexuality in appropriate settings to youth and adults.
  • Support or volunteer with a ministry that is working to free victims from trafficking.

The church can make a difference and free those chained by exploitation and evil.

“Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked” (Psalm 82:4).

Unpacking Your Short-Term Mission Experience

After you’ve planned, prepared, implemented and returned from your mission trip, it’s time to unpack. Not just your suitcase, but the mission experience itself.  Follow-up is an important part of going on mission because it helps the participant to understand what they learned and how God can use it in their everyday life.   There are people needing a witness in our own neighborhood and unreached people in our local community.  Taking a mission trip to another state or even a foreign country should help us to be more comfortable sharing our faith and encourage us to be a Christian witness in our hometown. There are so many ways to impact our community and the area around our church using the same skills and resources we take overseas.  So, help your church members returning from their mission trip to unpack their experience and awaken within them the realization that the mission isn’t over.

Here are some suggestions for unpacking the mission experience that provide continued growth:     

  1. Talk about the ministry experience and ask how what they did there can be used here at home.
  2. Share journal entries, pictures and videos with the church.
  3. Have a time of testimony and “sharing” during a public worship service.
  4. Provide a safe environment for discussing what they learned about themselves (weaknesses, failures, disappointments) and what God is teaching them.
  5. Ask them what they learned about God?
  6. Share about the experience on social media with pictures and testimony of God’s activity.
  7. Challenge them to consider how the mission experience may be the beginning of a journey God has planned for them, leading to vocational ministry, missionary service, or involvement in local ministry.
  8. Help them to plan service initiatives at home that draw connections between their missions experience away and service at home.
  9. Encourage them to continue the spiritual disciplines practiced on the trip like prayer, devotions, Bible study and worship.
  10. Send letters or emails of thanks and encouragement to the host missionary. Share with them how God used the mission experience.
  11. Discuss what “next steps” they will take on their spiritual journey.
  12. Send a reminder email or letter to every participant 1 month after returning with a picture of the group on the mission trip with the words… “Don’t forget! God did great things and He isn’t finished with you.”

Unpacking the experience can be a tremendous blessing and serve as a reminder to what God did … and is still doing.

 

KBC Regional Mobilization Consultants Stand Ready to Help

The Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Mission Mobilization Team is blessed to have 7 “self-funded” mobilization consultants across the state that stand ready to help a church, association or individual connect with in-state missions.

Their primary duties are to:

  1. Establish and maintain good relations with Directors of Missions, pastors, and churches in their regions.
  2. Recruit and enlist Kentucky Mission Service Corps and North American Mission Board MSC-funded (self-funded) missionaries, including developing prospects, following up on missionary leads, maintaining contact with the prospects, and assisting with the application process.
  3. Identify needs and discover places of service in Kentucky. This includes assisting with the completion of missionary requests and suggesting possible uses of KY-MSC missionaries to ministries, churches and associations.
  4. Promote and actively “tell the Kentucky missionary story.” They are available to make presentations at churches, associational executive board meetings, associational annual meetings, mission fairs, community events, On Mission Celebrations, etc.
  5. Serve as a liaison between the missionaries in their region and the KBC and/or NAMB. The consultants check regularly on the missionaries to offer support, encouragement, networking, and prayer, and communicate specific needs and prayer concerns related to the missionaries.
  6. Assist with short-term volunteerism, helping to identify new ministries and locate areas where short-term volunteers are needed. The consultants also help to connect mission teams with mission opportunities.

Serving as Mission Mobilization Consultants are:

  • George & Cathy Chinn from Hartford (South-Central Region).
  • Ryan Horrell from Louisville (Central Region).
  • Pat Howard from Bowling Green (South-Central Region).
  • Arlene Miller from Crofton (West Region).
  • John Morris from McDowell (East Region).
  • Twyla Sheffield from Winchester (North-Central Region).

Currently the South Region position is vacant and Teresa Parrett, KBC Missions Mobilization Coordinator, covers that area.  (If you live in the South Region and are interested in serving as a KBC Regional Mobilization Consultant, please contact the Missions Mobilization office at [email protected].)

We are grateful for these 7 individuals, their knowledge of Kentucky missions, and their commitment to serve.  They are available to you, so feel free to call on them at any time.  They will be happy to assist.

 

Short-term missions done poorly and done well

While in a hotel overlooking a European city, our vision team recapped the experiences we had over the previous days as we met with various missionaries and visited several European countries.  Our goal was to find ways that we could connect our local churches from the state conventions we represented to mission partnerships in Europe.  As we listened to one another share, one state convention leader remarked, “Money alone is not the answer.  We need boots on the ground.”

He is right.  While the Cooperative Program is an enormous tool for gospel advancement, money alone is not the answer.  Yes, we need long-term missionaries.  But we also need local church short-term teams partnering with missionaries for long-term impact.  Boots on the ground involves not only our long-term missionaries, but short-term teams doing missions well.  Here are ways missions is done poorly and done well expressed with opposite key statements.

  • Go in order to see “new places” / Go in order to see God do a “new work”. If we go in order to see new places, then we go for the wrong reasons.  Comparing stamps in our passports is not our goal.  Don’t misunderstand me, seeing new places is always exciting; but our aim is not simply for the thrill of the adventure or to travel the world.  We go believing that God is at work and we desire to see Him do a “new work” in the lives of those we are serving with and among. So, go expecting God to do something new in you, your team, and those who you intend to serve.
  • Go without a plan and be rigid / Go with a plan and then go with the flow. “Winging it” is not the best approach to maximizing our impact and effectiveness.  Sometimes we spiritualize our lack of planning as trying to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading.  To further complicate our unpreparedness, teams or individuals are reluctant to bend as schedules change.  Or worse, they bemoan how things are different than “back home” and how they wouldn’t “do it that way.”  On the other hand, our preparedness for what we plan to do and where we are going does not minimize the Spirit’s leading; it maximizes it.  We must prepare our teams well and then be prepared to go with the flow as circumstances change.  Being flexible with a spirit of willingness is critical for the Spirit to work in and through short-term teams.
  • Forget that a spiritual battle is underway / Recognize that a spiritual battle is before us. In the moment of experiencing new places and new people, we can easily forget that the challenges of the mission field—that often are dismissed as culture shock or personality conflicts, are directly tied to an unseen battle. Paul reminds us that we wrestle not with flesh and blood (cranky short-term team members or unfamiliar cultural customs), but against Satan and his dark forces (Eph 6:12).  Short-term teams need sensitivity to the fact that the spiritual reality that we may not perceive is much greater than the tangible reality around us.  A battle wages and we do not fight it with conventional weapons, but with the armor the Lord supplies (Eph 6:10-20).
  • Neglect to prepare your team / Be intentional about team preparation. Similar to going without a plan, teams that fail to prepare will prepare to fail.  On the other hand, teams that are intentional about their preparation will be an asset to the strategy of the field missionaries.  Basic preparation is necessary for maximizing the team’s impact with the work of the missionaries.
  • Set your own agenda / Develop a strategy with the missionaries. While many short-term teams mean well, they can often be a burden to missionaries.  The burden might stem from a lack of adaptability in their new (short-term) environment or it might involve an unwillingness to listen the counsel of the missionaries on best practices.  Often, the burden revolves around short-term teams setting their own agenda over against the desires and/or counsel of the host missionaries. Short-term teams that have the most gospel impact are those which submit to the leadership of the host missionaries in planning the purpose of the team. Think about it.  It only makes sense that those who have immersed themselves in the culture by living among the people and learning the language and way of life are the ones who know best what strategy will be most effective in advancing the gospel in a particular area.  Short-term missions done well involves teams that develop strategies with the host missionaries. This collaboration results in advancing the gospel in way that could not be done with the long-term missionaries only or at least be done at the concentrated pace that a short-term team provides.

Taking Care of Your Heart

“Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

I have served in active ministry for the sake of my Lord for forty years, and in my role as Disaster Relief Director for the last decade.  Ministry is not for the faint of heart, weak, or timid.  Our calling often requires us to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of Christ and others with long hours and stressful days.  This can wear on us spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

I was reminded of this in May of 2017, when I began having some neck pain and numbness in my left arm.  When this continued for several days, I decided to call my cardiologist.   I was quickly scheduled for a heart catheterization, and the result was three stents placed in my coronary arteries.  I am thankful for God’s sufficient grace, and that I could catch this health problem before it caused more serious issues like a major heart attack or stroke.  God has reminded me afresh that I cannot serve him well if I do not take care of my own health.

I would encourage you as a minister to:

  1. Develop a regular discipline of exercise.  I have found a morning 30-minute exercise regimen to be best for me as I often lose control of my afternoons and evenings as ministry needs arise during the day.  Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and can maintain. For me, it is walking or riding a stationary bike.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet.  It is easy in ministry to eat on the “go” and to make less than healthy choices.  I am disciplining myself to watch my portion size, to eat more vegetables and fruits, and to watch my cholesterol and fats.  I thank God that eating healthier has increased my energy for His sake.
  3. Get Proper Rest.  We all need a good night sleep.  God recharges the body when we allow it to rest and trust the events of the day to Him.
  4. Take time to get away from ministry for brief periods and to allow God to restore you.  Unlike the Energizer Bunny, we will run down without some down times to relax.  Ministry can be demanding and stressful, even when things are going good.  Burnout and Compassion Fatigue are damaging to us and our families, and can be deadly to ministry.
  5. Rely on the strength of God’s Holy Spirit to help you begin and maintain good health practices.  If overeating is a weakness for you, then ask the Spirit to help you fight the urge to make unhealthy food choices.  If lack of exercise is your problem, then ask God to help you set your alarm and get up a few minutes earlier.

God has reminded me that I cannot minister effectively if I neglect my own physical, emotional, or spiritual health.  God cares about our bodies.  He gave them to us.  He wants us to do all we can to keep our bodies healthy and active for His sake for the days that He has appointed us.  Take care of yourself for your sake, but even deeper for His sake!

“For you were bought at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).