Tag Archives: Ministry

A Lonely Road


(I originally wrote this on October 27, 2014, but I just haven’t put it up here yet)

Some say that ministry is a lonely road, and they’re right.  One of the things they don’t bother to tell you while you’re in college, especially in ministry prep courses, is just how lonely the road can be after graduation.  A lot of recent college graduates I’ve talked to have said the same thing.  They just didn’t know how hard and lonely it would be!

Think about it:  The push in college is not only to get your degree so that you can get that dream job, but to invest in wonderful, life-long friends.  But guess what?  When graduation day comes, the friends usually disperse all over as the Lord calls them separate ways.  Sure, we remain friends, albeit from a distance, but what do we do when we find ourselves in a completely new place with no friends and no connections?  Who do we connect with?  Who do we befriend?

Those who walk into ministry as singles face this in an especially potent way.  As the Lord calls us to new territory where we know no one, we can face deep loneliness.  Often times, we don’t have the opportunity to go serve with our best friend or with our closest loved ones.  (Maybe it’s just me, but I think that this applies to others too.  If you agree, can I get a shout out down below?)  Granted, the role of the single adult in the Church and the Kingdom of God are important and vital.  It is a key calling, but it is a hard and lonely one.

Yet despite the loneliness that can come with the calling to ministry, God is always present and always with us.  Even when the loneliness is overwhelming, He IS there!  We are given an opportunity to press into Him in a unique ways and to depend on Him more fully.  The challenge is will we take the opportunity and actually do it?

Here’s the other thing: even though ministry and being a vocational minister is a lonely road, we’re not meant to walk it alone.  I challenge those of you in ministry to reach out to someone in your church or area whom you can befriend.  Share life with them and together seek the Lord encouraging one another in the ministry and in the Lord.  We are not meant to live or minister alone. And though we may feel lonely, we are not alone!


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Seeing the Body at Work

It is a wonderful thing to watch the Body of Christ at work serving and loving in numerous and unique ways.  No act of love, no service, is worthless.  I’ve seen Jesus in people serving meals, in those who sign for those who are deaf.  I’ve seen Him in people feeding those who cannot feed themselves and welcoming people different than themselves.  I’ve seen Jesus in those who clothe the naked, and those who change diapers in the nursery.  I’ve seen Jesus in people leading crafts and teaching music.

Each of us , who are in Christ, has a gift with which to love others.  When we love others with the power of the Spirit, Jesus is evident.  I believe that our Lord is delighted when He sees His children loving each other and others with His love.  Dear follower of Christ, love with the gifts God has given you.  Minister to others through the talents you possess.  Shine the light of Jesus wherever you are.  May others see Him in you and may we see His presence in each other!

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Ministry of Hospitality

My guess is that a variety of things pass through our minds when we hear the word “hospitality”.  Perhaps your first thought is of making everything clean, tidy, and arranged “just so”.  Perhaps you think of large meals or parties.  Perhaps you think of long to-do lists that have no end.  Perhaps you think of a special team or committee at your church with that job.

The past month and a half, in conjunction with the past four years, has drastically changed the way I think about hospitality.  For a “vagabond” away from home, the greatest gift I could receive was to be welcomed into people’s homes and into their lives.  People have apologized to me before for having to run errands with them or see their house a mess, but it is a gift to live “real life” with them.  I have been richly blessed to receive the hospitality of many over the past few months and years and I pray that I would be as hospitable to others as the hospitality I have received.

I’ve been asked what my favorite part of my trip was.  By far, it was getting to share meals and life with all those I had the blessing of seeing.  Hospitality mixed with fellowship is a rich blessing.  Do not fear that your house may not be the cleanest or you have little to offer.  Welcoming others into your home and life with Christian love can be the greatest gift of all.

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Ministry of Encouragement

When we think of “ministry”, how often do we automatically think of the ministries commonly found in our churches (Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Adult Ministry, etc)?  Perhaps we think this way more often than we care to admit.  Even if we acknowledge other types of “ministry”, do we consider them all of equal importance?  Do we view “ministry” as something that only happens within the church or the walls of the church building?  Do we view “ministry” as something that has to be initiated through the institution of the church or as a church outreach?

If this is the case, our view of ministry is too narrow.  After all, what is “ministry” anyway?  What makes a “ministry” truly ministry?  Minstering to others is part of what it means to be a follower of Christ.  We minister to others as we serve them in love, as we love them with the love of Christ.  Service as modeled by our Lord is to put the needs of others first and seek their best.  All ministry is important, no matter who is the recipient or what the ministry is.

Ministry to children in a church is important, just as it is important to minister by encouraging friends, family, and anyone you meet over the course of the day.  May we all strive to minister to and bless those whose paths we cross.  Never underestimate the power of an encouraging and kind word.

All ministry boils down to the two greatest commandments—loving God and loving others.  Let us love well as we minister to others.  Let us love with the love of God, seeking to bring Him glory through our service.

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When the Going Gets Tough…

The saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”, is a common one; however, when the going gets tough it can also create opportunities to reflect on our true motivation for doing what we do.

When life gets tough and I’m thrown “curve ball” after “curve ball” and I feel like I’m in over my head, two things tend to happen:  1)  I don’t sleep because my mind tries desperately to process everything. 2) I have several conversations with the Lord which tend to go something like this:

Me: Lord, Why did you call me to THIS?  I can’t do this!

The Lord:  I know.  Trust me.

Me:  But God, I don’t know what I’m doing!

The Lord:  I know.  But I do.

Me:  But God, I’m so incapable of dealing with this.

The Lord:  I know.  But my strength is made perfect in your weakness.

Me:  God, it hurts so much to see what people go through.  Why did you call me to THIS?

The Lord:  Because you love them.  You will them, like I love them.  Because you care for them.  Because they are MINE and you love and care for them because they are mine and because I love and care for them.

Me:  Oh, yeah…

Many times I find that God just calls me to love people, not necessarily to use all the gifts and abilities He has given me.  There are numerous situations that arise which do not fit the skills and knowledge that I have, but God still calls me to those situations to love people any way I can.

I do not have all the answers or solutions for Children’s Ministry or Family Ministry, I have a mind and I have a love for people and a passion to see them walking with Jesus, which propels and motivates me even when I don’t have answers or the going gets tough.

It is the love of Christ which compels me, and motivates me to keep going, through good times and bad,  and to keep saying “Yes” to the call He has placed on my life.  Love which moves me with compassion, which causes me to give of myself.  He has called me because I love deeply and care greatly for those entrusted to my care.  This love is what motivates me and keeps me going.

For me:  When the going gets tough, the tough get LOVING!

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Thoughts on Acts 27,28 & Romans 10:14-15

I’ve often been amazed by the life of Paul.  His transformation was so complete and his ministry so vast, yet he claimed glory only for Christ.  Paul knew the work he did was pertinent and pressing to the Kingdom of God.  Everywhere he went he was prepared to speak about Jesus.  Paul also cared about those he was around, even when they are the ones responsible for holding him captive.

Paul warned the people he was with about the disastrous voyage that awaited them if they left Fair Havens, but they would not listen.  Even in the midst of the storm and during the shipwreck, he encouraged the others on board and encouraged them to eat when they needed to—this gave them the sustenance they needed to survive.    God kept them all safe in the shipwreck and used it as an opportunity to help the people on the island of Malta.  Paul was used by God to heal people on the island and the people of the island gave Paul and company the supplies they needed.  When Paul finally reached Rome, Paul was allowed to live under house arrest.  This gave him the opportunity to preach while he was there.  Acts 28:31 says “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

It’s probably safe to assume that Paul was not silent about Jesus on the island of Malta either.  It seems like Paul was always ready to talk about Jesus wherever he went.  This is both challenging and inspiring.  So many times, I find that the name of Jesus is not on my lips, He is not the one I am always ready to talk about.  I want to audacity of Paul when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  May I not be ashamed of it for truly it is the power of God for salvation for those who believe!  (See Romans 1:16)

For the past few weeks, and throughout the summer, the themes of serving and of missions have not been far from my mind.  The words of Paul to the church in Rome have pierced me time and time again:

“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:14-15)

Paul’s words here echo that of his Master’s before him.  (See Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8)  Paul understood that as followers of Jesus we are meant to be His witness wherever we go and to whomever we are with.  Granted, this will look different for different people, but I can’t help but feel convicted that this is not on my radar in my day to day activities.  Every day people are perishing not knowing the Lord Jesus Christ!  What are we doing as individuals and members of the body of Christ to introduce people to the living Lord, so that they might call on the name of the Lord and be saved?

May the Lord loose our mouths to declare the truth about Him to those around us and may they know we are Christians by our love!

Let us use our service as a means to declare and live the Gospel!

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To Those Who Labor

I wish to say a word to all those who labor for the Lord for the advancement of His Kingdom and the furthering of the Gospel:

“As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”  2 Thessalonians 3:13

We have been called to take part in God’s redemptive work on earth!  That is both a great privilege and a great responsibility.  The task can seem overwhelming at times, especially when we start to think that everything rests on our shoulders.  But things do not rest on our shoulders.  God is still sovereign.  He can accomplish His will without us, but He chooses to let us take part in it!  What a great gift that is!  We get to be co-laborers with Christ!

It is easy for us to lose sight of this though.  We easily get caught up in our tasks, in attendance, in the outcomes of what we do.  We lose sight of Who we serve as we focus on what we’re doing for Him.  It is my hope that I, and those who labor with me would be able to keep our focus.  I pray that we would be able to fulfill our calling well.  I pray that we would realize the joy of our Master when we do our jobs well.  Even when we do not see the fruits of our labor, I pray we will know it was all worth while.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes to the church about the issue of resurrection.  He addresses multiple facets of this and concludes this section connecting resurrection with the end of all things when “the perishable puts on the imperishable” (v.54) and when it comes to pass that “death is swallowed up in victory” (v.54)  We are told that victory (over death and sin) comes through Jesus Christ.  Paul then closes this section with this encouragement: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (v.58)

Praise God that we can know “that in the Lord [our] labor is not in vain.”  I know this has been a great encouragement to me when I have not seen the fruit of my labor and when I have labored so hard to proclaim the Lord and His love.  There are times in any ministry when things don’t seem to be going well and when all our efforts are for nought.  Even in these times, God is working.  Many times God works in the background doing things we could never even imagine.  In the end, we need to be obedient to do the things God has commanded us to do and trust that our labor is not in vain.  We have been told in Scripture that it is not in vain.  The question is: Do you believe it?

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