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“Do you know what ministry involves?” “Do you know the sacrifice it takes?” “Is this really what you want for your life?” These were the questions asked of me when I sat and talked with my parents about going to Bible college and going into ministry. Its not that they didn’t want me to become a preacher. I think they were ok with the idea of it. Its not like I was wanting to be a missionary and move over seas, so that wasn’t their concern. But they wanted me to be aware of what I was getting myself into. They knew that it wasn’t always going to be the beautiful dream that I had floating around in my mind.
At that time I thought of ministry as preaching, as doing weddings and funerals, as leading missions trips, and going on youth outings. When I answered their questions confident of my decision, these were the thoughts filling my mind. While all these things are part of the ministry of a preacher, there are so many other parts. This was not a lesson I would learn until I entered my first ministry.
It was in my first ministry that I learned how the life of the church really becomes part of who you are. How the church is doing, whether good times are rolling, or you are suffering through the fires, it is something that is constantly on your mind. I can’t take a vacation, visit my family or Crystals, or just hang out at home without thinking about what we have going on here at church. This was something new for me. In high school when I worked for Yard Works, David’s Catering, or the movie theater, when I was done with day, I was done with work, and for the most part was done thinking about it. But from the time I have entered ministry, my mind has been consumed with the life of the church.
How can we lead people to a life changing relationship with Jesus? How can we get people involved in small groups? How can we get our giving up so that we don’t just barely meet payroll and bills but can afford to do ministry? How can reach out to the community? How can we change the culture of our church to answer these questions? These are the thoughts that consume my mind constantly. These are thoughts I lie awake at night going over. These are thoughts I try to remove from my mind when I watch TV in the evenings. These are thoughts I try to not bring up when eating dinner with my family.
So if the questions were going to be asked of me again by my parents, my answer wouldn’t be much different. I would still be excited, but my excitement would be completely different. I would understand that the struggles of ministry, the demands on my time and my family, the role I serve, is all worth it because it points people to the cross, and it is through the work on the Cross that Christ was able to offer us salvation. For no better calling could I preach. And so, I will go on learning this year what it means to grow a church, maybe not always numerically, but to grow the lives of the people who comprise the church. I am excited to be a part of helping love and lead people to a life changing relationship with Jesus Christ. To that end I will continue learning.
Join me this year as I continue learning and sharing about it on Thursdays.