I’ve learned a lot over the past few months – baptism by fire, if you will. Nate and I were talking yesterday again about all the insane changes we’ve been through (church, job, baby, move) and what we’ve learned. We talked about things like conflict resolution, taking nothing for granted, and other areas that we’ve grown in. I know for me though, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is what your ministry is not.
Your ministry is not your lineage
I’ve met a lot of pastors who are “in the family business,” which is great. That’s a huge testament to their family’s legacy. But one of the things that I love about Nate’s story is how NOT even close to pastors his parents were, haha.
People who break the cycle of hurt and dysfunction are a huge testament to God’s plan for and power in our lives when we surrender!
Your ministry is not your church
This one was hard for me to accept for a long time. Nate and I invested so, so much into Innovate. It was a church where we invited friends and acquaintances that would never go to other churches – and they felt welcome there. We gave financially far beyond a usual 10% tithe. We spent hours and hours and hours helping, preparing, praying, serving. And many others did too.
But Innovate doesn’t exist anymore. And surprisingly, we haven’t stopped praying for our friends and hanging out with them and talking about God. We haven’t stopped giving of time and money. And God hasn’t stopped showing up in big ways. Being back at Bridgeway is an adjustment, to be totally honest. But I have no doubt that’s where God has us to be right now, among some of the most amazing Christians I’ve ever met.
Just tonight, Nate went to the driving range with an acquaintance and ended up talking to a total stranger when he over heard Nate talking about his faith. Nate left with his phone number because my husband is just blessed/weird like that. God loves the church, but the church and God are not the same thing. And neither are the church and your ministry.
Your ministry is not your position
Neither Nate nor I have ever had a title related to how we serve God. I did once jokingly nominate myself for the role of APGSD – Associate Pastor of Getting S*** Done – but my husband told me that’s actually offensive and not a real position, so I go back to never having a title.
Real leaders don’t rely on titles to influence. I could go back to my Psych undergrad roots and talk French and Raven’s pyramid of influence, but I’ll just say this – some of the greatest ministry done is grass roots. If you see a need – MEET IT! Don’t wait until you’re a board member or a pastor or a volunteer director. If God’s called you to do it, then take action!
Your ministry, very simply, is your life.
Your everyday life is your ministry. The way you treat the cashier at Walmart. Your response when your child has drawn all over the walls. The choice you make when you have the option to write someone off or to accept their mess. The way you treat your spouse when the warm fuzzy butterflies aren’t there.
That’s your ministry.
And every Christian has a ministry. It is your responsibility and your right as a follower of Christ. Now go – minister on!