Pursuing a Ministry of Excellence

A few weeks ago I started visiting a second-grade class to help students with their reading for an hour. The teacher was surprised to see me Friday (forgot about my coming) and didn’t anything planned, so it looked like I couldn’t help at all [1].

After about ten minutes she asked if I could help a student read her book and observed us in case help was needed.

By the end of the book her whole attitude had changed

“Wow you are really good at this!”
“Thanks so much for helping me!”
“Okay so how many times can you come a week?”

Specific needs in our culture [2] have resulted in explosive growth with volunteering, or other forms of ministry.

Of course this kind of work is awesome. However to truly make a lasting impact it must be characterized by excellence.

There are many ways to define a ministry of excellence but this is one I prefer: There is a REAL RELATIONSHIP with you and the individual that involves connection OUTSIDE OF THAT MINISTRY [3]

Developing that relationship often means finding a way to connect with them or “building a bridge.”

Which is where my treasure chest comes in

Why Missionaries Need a Treasure Chest from John Wilburn on Vimeo.

Last week I bought a small box that resembles a treasure chest, then filled it with lots of cool stuff from the dollar tree.

The rules when tutoring children are quite simple; obey Mr. Wilburn, and you get something out of the treasure box [4].

While I don’t use the treasure box with adults (even thought they would love a dinosaur sticker) the most important thing is still making “connection” our goal instead of just showing up and helping a person [5]

The little girl I helped read a book Friday was extremely shy, and it was difficult to hear because she spoke in a very soft voice. Sadly I didn’t bring my treasure chest [6] but knew there were other ways to connect with her.

As we read the book there was a picture of two little girls dressing up in their mothers clothes. While talking about what it meant to dress up I explained to her it meant wearing mommy’s make-up or fingernail polish.

Upon hearing that she proudly pulled out her hand she had been hiding under the table to show me fingernails that had been painted pink with a huge smile.

Now that little girl will probably forget the day I talked with her about fingernail polish. But the smile she gave was the first step in a ministry of excellence.


  1. it isn’t her fault since this school uses lots of volunteers in their classrooms  ↩
  2. such as the need for one on one help with students in a classroom  ↩
  3. For instance I would interact with students outside of class  ↩
  4. It really isn’t about the prize though…it’s about earning their respect and becoming someone they genuinely care about  ↩
  5. helping is useful too of course, but a close relationship with do so much more  ↩
  6. its best not to bring something like that into a classroom since it takes attention away from the teacher  ↩

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s