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How to determine where to invest your best energies in ministry.

After my first year of seminary, my denomination arranged for me to spend the summer as pastor of a rural congregation in Iowa. I was thrilled.

I moved into the parsonage with all my worldly goods on a Monday. On Tuesday I got up bright and early, showered and shaved, put on a dress shirt and a necktie, ate a good breakfast, and had my morning devotions. Then I sat down at the kitchen table, which would serve as my desk for the summer, prepared to start my first day of work.

Then the terrible truth hit me: I had no idea what to do that day. As a matter of fact, I had little idea of what I would do all summer! Oh, I knew that I would be preaching and leading worship every Sunday and visiting the sick and shut-in. But beyond that I had no plan, no agenda for my ministry in that congregation.

I walked around for some weeks hoping to encounter a burning bush on the edge of an Iowa cornfield. Oh, for a Divine Voice that would dictate The Plan. But the bushes of Iowa were not burning that summer. ...

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