The Most Important Thing- Church Leader Devotional

Read: John 15:1-11

If I could share ONE THING with every church leader in the world, this would be it. It's more important than systems, strategies, and staffing. It’s more important than learning, growing, and disciplines. It’s more important than your team, your kids, and even your marriage. If we get this, we will enjoy ministry more, be exponentially more effective, reach many more people, and have a greater possibility of finishing well. If we don’t get this, we will fall into joyless duty, spin our wheels in meaningless hard toil, and have a greater possibility of quitting early.

The most important thing: Pursue the fullness of joy in intimacy with God.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing…” and then later, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” -Jesus Christ (John 15:5,11)

Joy in God is the most important aspect in a church leader’s life, because authentic ministry (and genuine love) is an overflow of joy in God. If there’s no joy in God, there’s no authentic ministry, and therefore our striving and toiling is worthless. When we abide in the vine, He gives us the fullness of joy and enables us to bear much fruit (aka effective ministry). When we are not abiding in the vine, we are joyless, lifeless, and ineffective, and we will use people, ministry, and our platforms to fill our vacancies.

“You make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of JOY and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

In Christ, we have the most valuable treasure, the most satisfying pleasure, and the fullest joy in the universe. This is why we do ministry- to share this gift with the world. If we are not delighting ourselves in that gift, we will be like the scheming salesman who promises to make you rich with his "well thought-out" business plan, yet is going bankrupt himself.

My plea from the bottom of my heart for you today is that you would make your personal pleasure in God your highest priority.


Diagnostic questions:

How is your intimacy with Jesus (really)?

What are the things in your life that stir your affections for Jesus?

What are the things in your life that rob you of those affections?

Action steps: 

If Jesus is not the source of your pleasure in life, repent of half-hearted pleasures and return to the joy of the Lord.

What is one thing you can stop doing today that robs your affections for Jesus?

What is one thing you can start doing more today that stirs your affections for Jesus?