Not Missing Christ’s Fullness of Joy in Ministry

by Jim on February 18, 2014


Ministry Encouragement Podcast – Episode #083   – 2-18-14

Your Host: Rev. Jim W. Hollis  –   Our Sponsor: Proactive Ministries (

Welcome to the Ministry Encouragement Podcast!  This is our eighty-third episode and I’m delighted that you’re taking time from your busy schedule to share with us in this community that God is growing.  Today we’re going to be talking about how we short circuit the immense JOY that Christ intends for our lives.  We often receive a glimpse of that joy – but too frequently, a small portion instead of a full measure.  So today’s topic is:

Not Missing Christ’s Fullness of Joy In Ministry

What are obstacles that prevent us from experiencing the fullness of Joy that Christ speaks about in the New Testament, particularly in the text of John 15:8-11, New International Version:

8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Nearly every one of us Christians has experienced some measure of Christ’s Divine Joy in our lives, but how often and consistently do we encounter a steady presence of the fullness of Divine Joy?  Not enough.  The following are some common, major obstacles that steal or reduce our experiencing the fullness of Divine Joy:

  • Allowing the Urgent to crowd out the Important in our daily lives
  • Prematurely celebrating the first evidence of Divine Joy rather than going deeper on the path to fullness of Joy
  • Minimizing the central importance of the steady, unconditional love of Christ in growing relationships
  • Scratching the surface of ministry rather than digging deeper for more profound spiritual victories

For excellent, lasting ministry to take place in our lives as individuals as well as in the ministries of our communities of faith, we are called to cherish the steady pursuit of sharing Divine Love rather than stalling when first seeing it’s evidence in ministry and relationships.

We can point to clear, tangible examples of this in several key areas of ministry, both personally & individually as well as corporately & collectively in ministry together.  I’ll walk us through four major passage points where our measure of Divine Joy could easily be overflowing rather than only intense and quickly fading.  These four ministry settings we will explore from two vantage points of experience: 1) Personally as an individual Christian and 2) Together, as teams or a community of faith in ministry.

Ministry Setting 1: The Initiation of New Contacts:

  • As an individual Christian, personally:

We may be introduced in the context of Family, perhaps meeting a new daughter-in-law or an adopted son who is twelve years old just entering into our family group.

We may become acquainted with another in the context of Work, perhaps as we meet a new “hire” or staff member in our department, or a Manager who is taking the place of one who recently moved after several years in our department.

We may have a new Server in one of our favorite and consistent restaurants we dine in to announce to us they will be Serving our table for this specific visit and that they are glad to be here as a new member of the Team in the restaurant.

We could be at the Golf Club and need a fourth person to complete a “foursome” on that given day, who we would meet and invite to go with us in our golf group of friends.

Or we may be working out on an exercise cycle at our local gym, sweating away with determination, when someone we’ve never seen says, “Hello” to us and tell us it is their first day as a member of our gym.  They may ask us how we like it here.

  • As a participant in a Ministry Team in a corporate setting, perhaps a faith community or a local church:

We may be serving in the ministry position of a Worship Service Greeter in the Greeters’ Ministry of our church for the eleven o’clock worship service and be expected to respond and minister to those who are Worship Guests in worship that Sunday.

We may be the Senior Pastor of the church and spend 99% of our time in the Worship Service on the platform, up front – noticing there are people we don’t know in the congregation before and during the service.

We may be on the congregation’s Outreach Ministry Team who reaches out to new Businesses in our community, getting to meet business employees, managers and perhaps Owners of the business.

And in each of these examples, whether under the classification of Individual Christian or Ministry Team Staff or Volunteer, we may miss the tremendous Joy of ministry that Christ has intended for us because we pause in the very beginning without going deeper in pursuit of new, authentic, lasting relationships of spiritual depth that God intends to become the source of fullness of Divine Joy.

What do I really mean by this?  Let’s go back through the list of potential possibilities as Individuals and as Ministry Team members:  

We may say a polite “Hello” to the new family member and then join a “click” in the group we are much more comfortable to socialize with them, leaving the new family member isolated and feeling unloved.  We may even celebrate having met them.  But we stop short missing immense joy.

We may greet the new worker in our company and express our “best wishes” to him or her, but then when our buddies get ready to go out for pizza, we don’t specifically ask the new hire if they would like to go with us and encourage them that we authentically would like to get to know them better in this way, beyond work.  We’ve been “nice” but again we’ve stopped short of potential joy in making a new friend.

We may not “cotton to” (or be kind to)  the new Server in our favorite restaurant as she is slow on the new food offerings, and even plan to ask for our “old familiar Server” next time we come in to enjoy a meal.  We didn’t know the new Server was someone God wanted us to get to know and minister to.

We could keep hanging around the Golf Clubhouse until the Golf-Pro helps us locate someone who we already know and would be instantly comfortable playing a round of golf with – not accepting the stranger who we have not “approved of.”  That stranger had been praying for God to lead him to someone who he could share a great burden with.  We may have missed this.

We may hurry and do our own personal workout at the gym and not pause our agenda long enough to engage the new Member of our gym in conversation about their name, hopes and goals in joining the same gym as we belong to.  We hurry off from them not knowing this person just found out from their Doctor they have Type-2 Diabetes and is praying for a friend to show them around the gym as they can’t possibly afford a Trainer.  We may have been polite but not moved to make a new friend.  We may have missed the fullness of Christ’s Joy.

In all of these settings, we may miss the fullness of Joy that Christ intends by placing these persons in our personal path, presence and proximity – hoping that we would step up and love them unconditionally, thinking more of Christ’s Love than our own urgent agendas.

Of course, as a Team Member in ministry the same kind of poor spiritual discernment can occur, leading us to miss the fullness of joy in those settings as well:

As a Greeter we may say, “Good Morning to you” more than 50 times to everyone who walks through the doors of worship and never pause to ask anyone if they would help us remember their name.  Let’s get to know those who are present in caring and sensitive ways.

As the Senior Pastor we may simply feel good about giving a hardy word of welcome from the platform and not personally stress over the fact that many of our worship guests will not be connected with relationally while visiting our church.  We may not feel the need to model for our people how to approach a stranger, warmly welcome them and intentionally ask them to help us remember their name.  However pastors can change this and we can model how to make relational connections with others.

As an Outreach Team member to businesses in our community we may just pop in, say hello from the folks at First Church and ask them to join us on any Sunday for church, doing in reality a church commercial.   Instead of that approach, we can become intentional in assuring them we are not sales people, have no hidden agendas, and are simply out to meet our business owners, leaders, and employees while making new friends in our community.  Then we could have asked for any prayer requests they have or know of that we could remember.  The difference in these two approaches can be profound.

Ministry is about coming to know the fullness of Christ’s joy from serving others in Divine Love, requiring nothing from them in return.  God’s Love is to give away unconditionally.  That creates in us an authentic curiosity and interest in the stories and journeys of others.

Every single one of us has a story to share, a journey to tell of – but only a fraction of people ever have the blessing of another person who cares  enough to ask to hear about them, their story and their journey with no hidden agendas.

Can we change this?  Yes.  We can pray for more of God’s compassion, caring and kindness.  We can ask God to create in us more of the mind of Christ, reminding and prompting us through the Holy Spirit at work in us as Christians to go the extra step and love the other person intentionally and consistently – in pursuit of the fullness of Christ’s Divine Joy.

Let’s not just speak to another person – let’s get their name, hear their story and relate to them in God’s Love which is ours to share, not cling to selfishly.  God can give us new eyes to truly see others, hear others and encounter others as they are – helping us discern connection points with them as we invite them into Christian community.

The Risen, Living Christ still says to each of us today, ” These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  Let’s not miss the fullness of Christ’s Joy! 


As always, I’d love to hear from you on the following questions about this Episode:

  1. What is one of the most profound ways you personally experience Divine Joy in your life? 
  2. How have you, as a Christ-follower, come to share with others Divine Joy? 
  3. What obstacles do you feel blocks us from coming to know the Fullness of Christ’s Joy? 

It would be an honor and tremendous encouragement for me to receive your answers to one or more of these important questions that impact not only our lives but have the potential of changing the world for Christ.  My contact information is:


Ministry Offices in GA, USA, phone: (770) 803-9988

Voicemail: click on the TAB on the right side of this blog and using your computer microphone, leave me a voicemail.  It will come directly to me. 

Facebook: Jim W. Hollis  AND  please “Like” our Proactive Ministries Facebook Page

Linkedin:  Jim Hollis

Until our next Episode, please know that you mean so much to me and our podcast community.  Thanks again for sharing this podcast with others you know, including those in your family, small group, community of faith, your congregation, your Pastor(s) and anyone else who you feels would be encouraged by these Episodes.

Blessings in Christ,






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