Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Being in Ministry is Awesome

As I type this, it's Sunday.

All around the world, people involved in church ministry are doing their thing: preaching, singing, leading worship, teaching, playing instruments, directing behind the scenes, and taking charge of a host of other tasks.

If you minister on a regular basis and think that you're already well aware that Christian ministry is awesome and that you could probably write this post yourself with half your brain tied behind your back, you should probably keep reading anyway, because we all need a friendly reminder now and then.  If you are not in Christian ministry, and are just a regular church attender who finds himself looking around and wondering why the rest of us look so happy all the time, this post is also for you.

Why Being in Ministry is Awesome:

1. You get to learn to learn patience. No matter what your role may be, to work in ministry is to work with other people, and you know what that means: the need for bucketloads of patience. Because let's be honest for a moment, shall we? People--even Cristian people--are often annoying and frustrating, and working in ministry does not exempt you from this reality. Since almost all you do in ministry is work together with other people, many of whom will be volunteers (and I'm not knocking volunteers, but sometimes it is true that you get what you pay for), being in ministry will give you plenty of opportunities to exercise patience with others, some of whom will struggle to follow through on designated tasks, will demonstrate the need for constant reminders, and ask many pointless, irrelevant questions.  Just think: if you weren't in ministry, where else would you have the chance to learn such patience?

2. You learn not to put people on a pedestal.  One of the best aspects of working in ministry, especially if you work with the same ministry team long-term, is that you and the people you serve with get to know each other really well. The good news is that getting to know people this well generally aids you in removing them from any pedestal that they may otherwise have occupied in your mind. The reverse is also true: you get to see their feet of clay, and they get to see yours.  It's a mutual dis-admiration society!  Don't get me wrong: it's good to respect those with whom we serve, especially those who are in spiritual authority over us; however, to imbue them in our minds with sinless, godlike qualities that they do not possess will only lead us to eventual disappointment.  This is yet another reason why being in ministry is so awesome: you are in a position to be constantly reminded that nobody is immune to human frailty, even you.

3. You no longer have to wonder whether or not people think you're doing a good job. This is mostly because people in the church are going to tell you pretty much immediately how they feel about what you're doing. Being in ministry isn't like those jobs in which you have to wait all year for your annual performance review. No, being in ministry means that the feedback will be pretty much instantaneous.  For workshop leaders, the feedback comes before the last notes of the closing song have even died away, and that first eager church member comes over to express his strong feelings (either positive or negative) regarding that week's song selection, how the band sounded, why the church should/shouldn't still have a choir, or some other little aspect that seems to be missing from the service that would make everything just perfect. For the pastor, evaluations regarding both your preaching and leadership abilities begin as you shake hands at the door and will continue throughout the week through phone calls, drop-in visits to your office, and occasional passive-aggressive e-mails. On and on we could go through each aspect of church work. The point here is that if you're in ministry, you never will have to wonder how everybody feels about what you're doing, because they're just going to go ahead and tell you.

In some ways, it’s true that just like with any other job, ministry comes with all sorts of highs and lows and that in the end all it really amounts to is just a lot of hard work.

But it's more than that: being involved in church work means that you will not only have to work hard every day to fulfill your ministry, but that you will also face spiritual resistance from forces that desire to see your ministry fail.

So, fellow ministers? Take heart. The responsibility given to you by God is indeed awesome.  See that you take heed to the ministry that you've received from the Lord. Ask for the strength to fulfill it with grace.

And fellow non-ministers? First of all, what are you waiting for? Ministry is awesome. Get involved. You'll learn patience, humility, and endurance. Second, be sure that you're supporting in prayer those who serve at your church. They need it. Third, be sure to take some time today to thank one of your church workers, because no matter how awesome ministry might be, everyone needs a word of encouragement from time to time.

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His name when you served the saints—and you continue to serve them. - Hebrews 6:10 (HCSB)

4 comments:

  1. AWESOME POST!!
    I totally love it and I love how you ended it Ruth. Because no matter how awesome ministry might be, everyone needs a word of encouragement from time to time.
    Oh, and the Bible verse is good too. :P


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    1. I love you guys and appreciate how hard you have served over the years. <3 :)

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  2. Oh, man, YES. It is awesome. And look at all those great character traits we're developing!

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    1. Can't, Krikket -- I'm much too humble to notice!

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