What is ministry? Ask that to people and you'd get all kinds of answers....
Jon & I have always been "different" in our approach to ministry. We've just lived our life and it has happened. When we were younger we were taught the steps of "how to be in the ministry" but the steps didn't ever work for us because that wasn't who we were. Jon never "pushed" himself forward in ministry circles. When we were young, I used to encourage him to do "the things" all the young ministers did, go to meeting, "network" etc... I soon learned that wasn't going to happen with Jon. Not that he was disrespectful of others, he just had no time for it. He was too busy doing ministry to try and meet someones expectation of "ministry" He was doing the ministry no one else wanted to do. He didn't have to worry about competition LOL there were no lines of ministers waiting to go preach at the homeless shelters or the jails or at the little country churches! And that was where his heart was and is now!
I can't help but laugh sometimes at some of the various mailings and emails we get..."how to build your ministry"....is that too funny or what? Maybe I'm the only one who gets the irony of it.
We are not interested in being the CEO's of a ministry:) God didn't call anyone to "market" ministry, just to do it.....Sure you can work it and build numbers but is that truly ministry? When I see "ministers" who have body guards or "armor bearers" I have to roll my eyes and laugh, it's sick to me. If you are so important you can't spend time with folks in your congregation or who come to your meetings, I think it's time for an evaluation..... past time! God didn't call anyone to build empires!
God called us to faithfulness. He didn't call us to be "successful" by the world's standards. There is nothing wrong with growth! Don't get me wrong but our striving should be after what God wants than what brings us "validation" as a minister. I know plenty of pastors who will do just about anything to bring in people, "the ends justify the means" They will preach a sermon that doesn't challenge the congregation in order to keep folks... it's tempting as a pastor to skirt around various issues so you don't offend but just remember you aren't preaching your bible you are preaching God's bible and let the chips fall....
For example I have some dear friends who have chosen to live "inmoral lifestyles, I love them, I do not preach to them but I believe the bible teaches that is a sin. I didn't write the bible...God inspired "holy men of old" to write the inspired word of God. ( Read 1Timothy ) My thought is I chose to believe Gods word whether I like it or not. I live according to the bible, I don't try and make the bible say what I want it to say. Too many people today are afraid to have any standards. They say "who are you to say what is right or what is wrong?" I'm no one to say in myself to say what is right or what is wrong but I stand by the Word of God.
I hear the argument all the time that the bible was just written by men....usually that argument comes when you talk about something that someone doesn't like in the bible. But then that same person will quote the bible when it benefits him! Tha's not right....either take the WHOLE bible or don't take it at all. Don't pick and chose scripture.... I know folks who regularly sin ( according to the bible) but they ask for God's blessings in their lives. It's like they want only what they want from God without having to have any responsibility on their part! So many parts of scriptures have promises to us but they also come with requirements to get those promises...such as this verse
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows.
18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them as white as wool.
19 If you will only obey me,
you will have plenty to eat.
20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen,
you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.
I, the Lord, have spoken!” Isaiah 1:16-20