Before I left my church in May, my friend and former college roommate, Kelly and I would spend countless hours dreaming about what our lives would look like if we just up-and-quit our Youth Ministry jobs and worked for Trader Joe’s or Starbucks (respectively). The joke’s on me because a mere matter of weeks after our last conversation on this topic, I left my job and started working for Starbucks.
While my time rockin’ the green apron has been short, albeit intense and very tiresome, I’ve realized now that Ministry is always greener on the other side…
The other side of Ministry.
For the past 7 years, I’ve been living and breathing Youth Ministry. I went to a very expensive, private Christian university in order to obtain a certain degree that would give me a certain level of professional expertise and knowledge on a certain type of Ministry in the Church.
After graduation, I spent several years at a church utilizing this expertise to minister to and grow the faith and knowledge of my youth and their families so they could discover how loving and powerful God is in their lives. I gained a lot of experience – good and bad – and am truly blessed to have been able to grow as a Youth Leader in that place.
While I wouldn’t trade that time for anything, I have to admit that being in that place for little under a decade somewhat warped and twisted my perspective of what Ministry is. In my world, “doing Ministry” meant getting a paycheck and an office at an established church. It meant spending hours huddled in my office, writing Messages, Bible studies and lesson plans. It meant making executive decisions, working on the Youth Ministry budget, scheduling meetings and resolving conflicts with parents.
All this time, what I failed to realize is that this really isn’t Ministry at all.
As I’ve stepped away and have experienced the greener side for myself, God has, yet again, smacked me with a spiritual 2×4. He has drastically changed my perspective of “Ministry” and has reminded me that Ministry isn’t necessarily about doing, it’s about living.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. – Romans 12:1 (emphasis mine)
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. – Psalm 89:15
As followers of Christ, we’re all called to do Ministry. Regardless of your title, who pays your bills, or what your job description is, God has chosen us to grow His Kingdom. He has called us to devote our lives to walking in the presence of Christ. We are all doing Ministry in some way or another – by the way we live.
So, how’s your Ministry going?
Are you living a life that is pleasing to God?
Can others see Who you represent?
You don’t have to be a screaming bullhorn for your neighbors to know what you’re all about – I know that talking about your faith is often not a viable option in the work place – but, what do you do with the words that do come out of your mouth? Are your actions ones that show others God’s love?
Wherever God has placed you – whether it’s working as the Lead Pastor at a mega-church or a lowly barista at Starbucks – He has you there for a reason. He has placed you in Ministry. He is using you and growing you in your experiences and He is so proud of you. His loving arms surround you and He’s your #1 fan. Take hope in knowing that God’s plans are infinite. His plans are creative. His plans are filled with unfathomable adventures!
Take ownership of the Ministry that our God has you doing. After all, the best pastors are free!