In this special celebration of the 100th episode of the PD Podcast, Robert Cortes joins Mingo Palacios to discuss the journey of the past two years, how to best shepherd those in your ministry, and why it’s so important to share some of your workload and opportunities with volunteers in the church.
The PD Podcast is celebrating its 100th episode this week! Mingo and Robert, who have been working on the podcast together since Day 1, take this opportunity to reflect on the past two years and to look forward to what’s still to come.
Mingo notes the shift in ministry that has happened over these two years. He’s seen a much greater spirit of collaboration and sharing instead of competition. At a recent Hume Lake Youth Workers’ Retreat, he spoke with a couple of past podcast guests (Steve Moultrie and Vince Freeman) about “how much better our city is because we have a new generation of church leaders that are leading with an open hand. They’re meeting together and they’re for one another.” This has certainly helped Torrey Pines Church grow and build a community with pastors from other churches.
With 2020 fast approaching, Robert and his wife, Liz, recently took a few days off for a relaxing getaway from the hustle of daily life, in order to vision cast for the coming year. He shares an insight on maximizing productivity: ensuring that you have time to rest. “We felt that we needed to go through that decompression and relaxing to get to a place where we could talk about 2020,” he says. Thanks to the opportunity for rest, they were able to be far more productive in a shorter amount of time than usual.
Rick Warren has expressed a similar idea. “He talks about doing work wisely,” Mingo says. “The person who spends time sharpening the axe is actually going to do the greater work… versus working with a dull axe, spending two, three, four times the energy working with a dull instrument.” Taking time to rest and recharge will help you to be exponentially more efficient and prolific in your work.
Reflecting on the past 100 episodes, Mingo highlights how much God can change your life in a short amount of time. “You can’t even fathom where God is going to have you in 24 months’ time.” When the podcast had its humble beginnings in the tour RV, Mingo had no idea that just two years later he would be pastoring a church. This has reminded him to “live with a posture of hands open” – and this extends beyond your own path to assessing where other leaders around you might be best suited, even if that means they need to leave your church.
“We’re talking about being shepherds,” Mingo says. Shepherds keep a watchful eye on their sheep to make sure they’re moving into the right pastures at the right times, not staying in one place even when all the grass has been eaten. In the same way, we need to look after our volunteers and notice when God might be calling them elsewhere, to other churches.
“We can’t live in this competitive ministry landscape anymore,” he says. It does more harm than good to be in competition with each other; the negativity of the constant rivalry between different houses of faith puts off those who might otherwise be interested in seeing what church is all about. “We’ve got to be better stewards of a capital ‘C’ Church,” Mingo affirms – and to do so, we need to trust that whenever someone moves on to a new path, God will bring someone else to step into the role they left behind.
This leads to the final topic, which is the importance of letting volunteers take over more of the responsibilities that we would normally leave to a “professional” within the church. When volunteers and leaders like Robert are the ones greeting visitors, for example, rather than the pastor, it allows newcomers to see “the economy of this church: many people laying hands onto and into this thing called Torrey Pines Church for many more people to be served,” Mingo says.
It is crucial to bring amateurs into your ministry. When we think of an amateur, we might think of someone who’s inexperienced or not quite ready to lead, but that’s not the true meaning of the word. The word amateur comes from the root word amor, Latin for love. Thus, an amateur is someone who loves what they do so deeply that they’re willing to devote themselves to it, even if it’s an unpaid role. They can make an invaluable contribution to your ministry. As Rick Warren has pointed out in the past, “Noah was an amateur and he built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic, and we know where that one ended up.”
So, don’t try to keep all the opportunity and accolades for yourself. Be open to sharing your expertise and distributing pieces of your ministry to others who love Jesus and who are passionate about what they do. Cheer them on, support them, and let God use them in your ministry according to His plan.
Keep in mind that even if you’re the one who planted the church, “that’s God’s church, and you are the leaseholder right now, but it’s on rent,” Mingo says. Your mission should be to set up your ministry for success so that when new leaders step in, they can see how well you shepherded the church. Ultimately, “your job is to give away great ministry and see other people trust and know Jesus better through it. That’s what makes great leaders.”
Above all, as we close out the 100th episode of the PD Podcast, Mingo encourages leaders not to lose heart. He’s had a hard season recently in his transition into the role of lead pastor at Torrey Pines, but he knows God is in charge. You may also be going through a difficult season right now, but “just believe that we are praying for you, and that God has your best interest in mind.”
Would you like to have a conversation with us on the PD Podcast about your journey and challenges in your church or ministry? Email Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be in touch to see if it’s a good fit! We look forward to hearing from you.