The Multiplier Effect
August 1, 2018
Ministry is not easy.
There are moments of unprecedented joy that are absolutely breathtaking. There are also moments of unparalleled heartache. Frustration, roadblocks, and despondency are common. Suggesting otherwise would be disingenuous.
Even so, it is a call that beckons people from all walks of life, especially those who do not expect it.
Laurinda Kwiatkowski was serving as a volunteer with the students and youth of her church. At the time she was not considering vocational ministry, but when she was asked to be the interim Youth Director, she agreed. For the next 15 years, she served in youth ministry and pastoral care. With every opportunity she was given to preach and teach the word of God, the more she felt called to become a pastor. God placed exactly the right people in her life at exactly the right times to speak those words of affirmation and encouragement. After much resistance, she finally stopped trying to change God’s plan and she answered the call to become a pastor.
Now, Laurinda is the Pastor of Outreach and Evangelism at University UMC in San Antonio. “I felt called to second chair leadership, but many people encouraged me to pursue being a senior pastor. When I saw Mike Bonem’s book, Leading from the Second Chair, I read it and it finally felt like someone understood my role. His book affirmed my call, gave me confidence, and helped me be proud of that call on my life,” Laurinda noted.
Considering the impact Mike’s book had, it was serendipitous that Laurinda was invited to join one of TMF Leadership Ministry's learning communities - the Deep Change group, which is specifically designed for executive pastors and facilitated by Mike Bonem. “His influence helped me be a better pastor,” Laurinda said with certainty. The participants made a marked difference in her ministry as well.
For instance, when a colleague made an unfortunate decision that had far reaching consequences for their church, the Deep Change group surrounded her with love and grace. They helped her to deal with the anger and disappointment that she felt in ways that were healthy and productive. This resulted in a healthier environment for the church as a whole and a happier and healthier attitude for her.
During a brief season when Laurinda served as interim Senior Pastor, it was the TMF group that provided support and guidance resulting in a much more positive and productive outcome. Listening to the advice of the group, she believed she was able to do what she could to lead the church in a more healthy time of transition. “I could make the best possible decisions because I was seeking God’s guidance and I had a group of peers who were seeking and discerning God’s guidance on my behalf. I have gained deep friendships that have provided loving accountability and insight for me. That has helped tremendously in navigating through some very uncharted waters and leading the church through a time of great change.”
At another time, the group provided her with the skills she needed to help her church find healing after a very difficult situation. “They helped heal my heart, which made it possible for me to advance the healing process within the congregation,” she said. “What I have learned and the ways in which I have grown through TMF hold the possibility to impact the lives of many people. This learning is not meant to be confined to me, I am blessed with this opportunity for growth and learning and that is shared with a 6,000 member congregation."
Even though Laurinda’s experience in ministry is a testament to the fact that it is not easy, the learnings she has gained through TMF’s Leadership Ministry have been transformative and have eased the weight of living out her call. In fact, these learnings have been so valuable to her that she has made a point of sharing them. “What I have learned has an impact on thousands of people at my church. This learning is not confined to me. It is shared with a 6,000-member congregation.”
When she is not living out her call and sharing these learnings with her church, she is imparting them to the students and young adults she has mentored, over 20 of whom have made a decision to enter ministry. By sharing what she has learned, she is ensuring these young ministers will be better problem solvers, navigate church leadership more effectively, and survive the heartaches that come hand-in-hand with the joys of ministry.
“Because of God, I am a multiplier who has been blessed with this unbelievable opportunity to serve in a large congregation. So just think about it, if God is using me to serve in a congregation this size, imagine the impact that TMF is having through all the pastors and church leaders who are a part of these TMF groups. I think the far reaching impact that TMF groups have on the church and on the world will not be measured on this side of heaven.”