I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Monday, April 30, 2012

Convenience Ministry

I have been thinking a lot lately about ministry. Not just the ministry in the church, but the opportunities the Lord puts in front of me every day. And I realized something about myself. I am much more willing to minister to people when it is convenient for me.

I am a very selfish person by nature, and I like my life and schedule to run a certain way. Now, because we homeschool, I have to keep SOME sort of order around here. But if I'm honest with myself, our schedule is a lot more flexible than I am willing to admit.

See, a lot of times the Lord will ask me to minister outside of the church. Away from the ministries the church has established. No, really. He will put opportunities in my path to be a blessing to someone, and I have to decide if I will obey or not. And a lot of times, if the opportunity to be a blessing looks like inconvenience, then I will say no.

If I have to pack up the kids and drive ALL THE WAY across town, or spend an hour or two or five with someone else's children who may or may not be well disciplined, or give up a day I had planned to do something I wanted to do, or even talk on the phone to someone who is hurting when I think I ought to be organizing something, then I am more likely to say no. Or put it off until it IS convenient.

I excuse it by telling myself: "You're moving to Africa. ZAMBIA of all places. You'll be doing a lot of ministry THERE. You don't always have to say yes and jump up to do what everyone needs HERE."

And while that is true, we ARE moving to Zambia, and I don't need to jump up and do what everyone needs all the time, I shouldn't say NO every time, either. It shouldn't be my default response. I shouldn't be taking hold of my day with both fists from the time I wake up and dare God to change my schedule.

I ought to be willing to minister to the brethren right where I am is all I'm saying.

And I do. Sometimes. But I think more often than not, I say no because what someone is asking is inconvenient. It requires ME to go to THEM. Or it costs me something.

But isn't that what real ministry is about? Being a living sacrifice? Ministry is not always organized, is it? Or through sports? Or at a specific time each week? Or month? Isn't ministering to people about meeting them where they are and being Jesus to them- whenever they need it?

Maybe you're awesome at this already. Maybe you know all your neighbors, whether they are believers or not, and they come to you with needs because they trust you, and you've shown yourself friendly. I don't know if that's the case for most people. It's certainly not the case for me. Where we live right now I've only met one neighbor, and that's because he checked out my foot in his podiatry office. (I didn't realize he was my neighbor prior to that!)

Yes, we are under abnormal circumstances now, and this is not our permanent home, but it would be really easy for this attitude to follow me to Zambia. To keep to myself, get school done, and minister while I am at church with my husband. Convenience ministry, if you will.

God has called all of us to do way more than that.

What would happen if church people in America decided to get involved in their community instead of the church hosting extracurricular events? Think about that for a minute.

What if we decided to coach sports through our town, or local Boy's and Girl's Club, or the Y? What if we joined community art programs, gymnastics, music programs, theater, library programs, school functions? What if we went out and ministered in our city's homeless shelter, or food pantry? What if we decided that we weren't going to always just surround ourselves with church people?

Wouldn't we be able to more effectively reach our community? Isn't it meeting them where they are, instead of expecting them to come to us? Isn't that how they'll see the difference in us, the light of Christ?

I know God uses ministries of the church to reach people, I'm not saying He doesn't. I just wonder where the balance is...

I need to examine how effective my personal outreach is to the community. And I don't mean street preaching on the weekend, or leaving tracts on the table at a restaurant or in the local gas station bathroom. Those are good things to do, but they are impersonal. They don't (usually) require more commitment than the time allotted to complete them. I don't get involved in the nitty gritty of other people's lives doing those things.

Have I truly made myself available personally to get to know those around me in my community, and do I take the opportunity to minister when it's presented?

Or am I waiting for it to be convenient?

Something I need to think about.


  • Janice

    so the only thing I saw on this post several times was ZAMBIA. And that just makes me smile soooo much!!!!

    I didnt read anything about ministry and how I need to apply better principles to my life and make a conscious effort to let the Lord lead me and obey or anything.

    I just read Zambia. A Lot of times....!! :)

  • jennifer anderson

    let me ask you....what would happen if our girls....who are eually as smart as our boys....were raised with the expectation that they can be anthing the want...including what their dad is...a pastor. Being a pastor has never occurred to them as it is not presented as a viable option to them. they are groomed to be home makers and wives and mothers and are taught that their career is 2nd to their husbands,,,and not really important, just to back up the financees a little.....in essence what are we doing to our girls? The church would have twice the workforce if girls realized their talents, their prayers, their brains, are just as good or maybe better then their brothers. And do boys really feel called to the minisitry or do the just want to be like their dads?....think about it truly. now at the end of the world, isn't it time women and girls move onward into ministry. ? why can women be a missionary under a hot foeign sun, but not a pastor in their own cozy country. why are men youth pastors but women only get to be youth directors? There is no scripture to support men only ministries....only that men must be the husband of one woman only. The only reason that sentence doesn't mention women pastors must only have one spouse...is because traditionally in history women have NEVER had more then one spouse...I come to you with this as a pk's daughter...who realizes late...that she was the one in the family who inherited her earthly father's spiritual gifts.

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