It’s been….gosh, five months since I last wrote. It has been nothing short of an absolute whirlwind! More on that in a few minutes…
God has really been working on my heart, especially lately, and so much has come to the surface for me in regards to who I am. It has been painful, it has been ugly, and it has been gratifying. Sort of like ministry. Yes, that’s right, I said it: Ministry is painful, it is tough, and yet it is gratifying. Allow me to explain:
Our senior pastor left just after my last blog post. We were absolutely side-swiped and had absolutely no idea that this was set to happen. One Sunday he was senior pastor and the following, he resigned. In the five months since his departure, I have taken on a role that has been closer to a senior pastor’s role (interim, if you will), minus preaching and being ordained (which is in the works). I have learned a lot about ministry in this role and as I said above, ministry is tough. Really tough. Three thoughts on why ministry is what it is:
Ministry is painful.
You will get hurt in ministry. Whether by a fellow staff member, a member, a lay leader, or in rare cases, a guest, you will experience pain. Why? Because you are fighting against something that hates the light (Eph. 6:12). Satan will try and destroy you, your ministry, and everything you hold dear as you try and advance the Gospel. Truth be told, some people will be vicious to you and absolutely destroy what God is intending to do in you, in your family, and in your church. Heed my words: If you encounter ZERO problems in your ministry, there is a serious problem.
Ministry is tough.
I am in a church of about 30-40 people and I have discovered the difficulty in mobilizing this small, yet loving group into evangelism in a way that the Lord has called for us (Matt. 28:19). We live in a community of 50,000-60,000 unbelieving/unchurched people living within a 3-mile radius of the church, yet we have not reached them. Pastors in the past at my church have tried, but no one has been successful. Why? I refuse to speculate for good reason, but will say this: Evangelism in 2017 is nothing like evangelism in the 1990s, the 1980s, or even the 1970s for that matter. People today are more connected to technology than ever in our world’s history! Not to mention, I think ministry has become tougher because of the perception of Christians; that is, that we’re bigots, homophobes, xenophobes, and whatever phobia there is. I think that Christians have really screwed up with reaching people who are more challenging and “hard to love,” but Jesus loved you and me enough to save us, so why don’t we try and share with them our concern for their eternity? At the very least, show genuine interest in who they are! For example, I am a HUGE firearms lover and would gladly to speak to anyone at the range any time, anywhere about firearms. Building relationships with people in hopes of sharing the Gospel is the only way evangelism is going to fruitfully happen.
Ministry is gratifying.
Somehow, in the midst of the problems and hurts ministry has brought into my life (and numerous headaches for that matter), I find gratification. It’s more than a, “Hey, great sermon, Preacher!” It’s when you see the people in your congregation who are hurting let go of unforgiveness that they have harbored (much like I did a few months ago, which that sermon can be viewed under Rehab: Healing the Hurts in Life at http://www.crossviewmarietta.org) or when you get the privilege to baptize new believers. Ministry is one of the most difficult vocations in the world, and despite my desire so many times over since beginning to simply resign and pursue another profession, God has kept me here. Why? I don’t know. Only time will tell.