Monday, January 7, 2013

What is Ministry?

This is one of those posts that I've been rolling around in my head for awhile.....these are the kind that usually get me in trouble LOL....

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

16 Wash yourselves and be clean!
Get your sins out of my sight.
Give up your evil ways.
17 Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
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
 
 
So I went from what is ministry to this ....but the point is to give a pure message, not a watered down one. 
 
There used to be quite the controversy in our christian circles about whether every believer is a minister (of course they are) or if there was a special calling to the ministry (of course there is)  So if you are a full time minister, if you have have that calling, you have that responsibility to do the work of ministry NOT building yourself or your name up.
 
 
We were asked when we were gone so long from our church Grace Church how would it get along without us?  Well our church was not built on Jon's personality!  It was started years ago before either of us were born and hopefully it will be going on after we pass away!  Our church is not a large church but the folks were faithful without anyone telling them to be.  Why?  Because they were there to serve God and God wasn't stuck up in a NY hospital!
 
But if you are a believer you also have a ministry, by living your life to glorify God.  By reaching out to others, by being kind and loving.  One thing I've learned over the years is to just care for others.  People may chose to live their lives different from what the bible teaches BUT that doesn't mean you can't love them and be their friend!  I have friends of various backgrounds and religions, I love them and they know it.   I'm not trying to "get a notch on my belt" to get them "saved"  I'm friends with a Wicca priest:)  We are really friends, Jon & I enjoy him as a person.  He knows where we stand and we know where he stands and because we like each other we have great conversations:)  I have a friend who is a Jehovah Witness.  We worked together for years and enjoyed each other's friendship.  She wasn't allowed to eat in public with a non Jehovah Witness so we'd pick up lunch and eat at our desk.  I have friends who are Muslim, Mormans and even an Agnostic or two:)  Don't shy away from someone just because they believe different than you and don't try to shove your beliefs down their throats.  No one like that!  Just be a friend.  I'm not saying not to share what you believe, but enjoy the person don't beat them down!!   
 
So what is ministry?  It's reaching out to others, daily, showing love, showing God's love and compassion to others.  It's not living within a "Christian bubble"  Alot of ministers I know, don't really know how to live outside the bubble.  They don't know anyone but Christians....  there time is filled with "christian things"  Jesus didn't live in the temple...he was a friend to sinners....remember we are all sinners....  I almost believe that all ministers should have to work a secular job because in this day and age too many insulate themselves from others and from the real world.  (see I told you too much thnking gets me in trouble LOL)  It's not about wearing a suit and a tie and calling each other Pastor.  It's about reaching folks and loving them! 
 
So I know this is a bit different post than my ones about Selah but I started this blog in order to write what was on my mind.....
 
 
 

7 comments:

  1. Preach it sister.....It is all about quality of the Word of God and not the quantity of the pew sitters....YIPPEE, Yvonne!!!! And so few people sit in churches that preach and teach the WORD OF GOD from the BIBLE....too much conviction and not enough frilly, fluffy stuff....They only followed Jesus in the Bible because He fed them food...when He taught them, they left....Very few were challenged and convicted in their hearts....
    Oh I am so glad you wrote what you did...
    Love from NC

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  2. Preach it sister...I wrote a comment for you and then it disappeared...I am not going to start over, but I am so glad that you wrote this post...
    Love from NC

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  3. Hallelujah!! So on the mark...God's mark! People of different backgrounds and beliefs truly can be friends, and are NEVER 'projects' Thank you for sharing so succinctly!!

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  4. Yet another reason why I feel a connection with you. I have friends and relatives of all different backgrounds and lifestyles; Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, agnostic, gay, etc. They know how I live and what I believe but I will not preach at them. I love them unconditionally and enjoy learning from them. Isn't that what God commanded, to love unconditionally and to not judge? I have a niece and nephew who are both living in the gay lifestyle. They know that I love them very much although I do not agree with how they are living. I'm the most imperfect being alive so how dare I cast judgment on somebody else?
    Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  5. I am grateful for your ministry to me, and the others who read about your faith-filled journey. Giving unconditional love and being devoted to Christ Jesus makes our world a better place. I am praying often for little Selah and your whole clan. From Rebecca, a sister in the Lord.

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