So You Want To Be in Ministry?

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Writing, speaking, and teaching about Jesus to anyone who would read or listen has been my dream for a long time. I just seem to have had a long road to get there.

I guess though, if I think about it, I have been doing this for years. My first level of disciples have been a close-knit, highly-selective group of people. The requirements for entry into this have been extremely exclusive. In fact, if I didn’t birth you, you didn’t qualify. Because for almost three decades, the main objects of my ministry have been my kids.

Now, I am on the cusp of a new season. My last child will graduate high school in just three years, so I am close to the end of the intense mothering stage of my life. My children will have all transitioned into the season of being adults, and my time, in many ways, will open up.

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I have sensed the urge of writing and speaking for years. But while the call resided in my heart, the opportunity remained limited. God nurtured the longing in my soul, while keeping the door of opportunity mostly closed, allowing only a few avenues. I believe He wanted me to focus on the most important work of my family, and since He knows my heart intimately, He knew how easily I become distracted. But now I am beginning to see the door to ministry cracking open.

In a month I will self-publish my first book, which is exciting, rewarding, and TERRIFYING (seriously- this is way more difficult than I ever imagined). Then in October, I am teaching at a women’s church retreat in another state, which I love and hope to get to do more often.

BUT…. there is another part of this I am becoming more aware of.

What Ministry REALLY Is

Anyone else notice the avalanche of celebrity ministers in the US these days? I don’t say that to disparage them. I think it reflects more on the church, than those in the spotlight. We tend to rally around people we admire and listen to them talk, say amen, feel good, and then leave the building. Maybe we find this a reasonable substitute to doing something ourselves.

Now don’t get me wrong- I adore conferences. I soak in great worship music and revel in deep scriptural teaching with enthusiasm.  

BUT….

… if I walk away from that time and do nothing with the teaching it is honestly a waste of time.

As the popular song goes, “It’s time to do something.”

So I Want To Be In Ministry

As the pull and desire to minister grows, I recognize the trap of a flesh that can crave notoriety. The trap is real and wrong motives can cloud the purity of the gospel. 

Why do I want to minister and for what purpose and to what result?

  • Do I write blogs so people will think I am a good writer?
  • Do I only think a blog is valuable if it gets "enough" hits?
  • Do I speak at conferences so I will be patted on the back, complimented, or sell more books?
  • Do I crave for people to know my name and my face? 
  • Do I want to prosper financially by selling books and products?

Those are good questions and honestly cause me to squirm.

Ministry Jesus’s Way

—but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger,

—in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God;

—by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.

—Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide.
— (2 Corinthians 6:4-11 NASB)

2 Corinthians 6:2-11 should be memorized by EVERY public minister. If I want to commend my self as a public minister and servant of God, this Scripture informs me it may not look like I expected and I will definitely need endurance. And then it tells me exactly why.

Everything that follows below comes straight from 2 Corinthians 6:2-11.

What I will endure (verses 4-5):

  • Afflictions
  • hardships
  • distresses
  • beatings
  • imprisonment
  • tumults
  • labors
  • sleeplessness
  • hunger

Ummmmm , wow. Okay then.

This isn’t very glitzy.

This must be that “lay down your life and carry your cross” kind of thing.

How my heart and actions should proceed (verse 6):

  • in purity
  • in knowledge
  • in patience
  • in kindness
  • in genuine love

How in the world am I suppose to live like that while sleepless, hungry, and imprisoned? 

  • (verses 6-7) In the Holy Spirit and in the power of God

Right- the Holy Spirit.

Why do I always drift toward trying to figure out how to do this in my flesh and forget the fact that the only way I can do ANYTHING is through the Spirit?

How I should act and minister (verses 7-10):

  • By the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left
    • (sound like I need to be well armed for serious warfare.)
  • By glory and dishonor
    • (so no matter what people think of me, good or bad, I proceed)
  • By evil report and good report
    • (probably should just ignore everyone’s opinions except for Jesus’s)
  • Regarded as deceivers yet true
    • (better check my reputation at the door)
  • As unknown yet well-known
    • (want to be known by my Lord, not be admirers)
  • As dying yet behold, we live
    • (yep- gonna need to lay my life down every day)
  • As sorrowful yet always rejoicing
    • (joy is in obedience to Lord even if work is difficult)
  • As poor yet making many rich
    • (writing and teaching is to benefit others not myself)
  • As having nothing yet possessing all things
    • (live for eternity because all that exists belongs to my Master and He will give me what I need)

And how I write and speak each day (verse 11):

  • Our mouth has spoke freely … our heart is opened wide.

I must speak freely each truth the Lord gives me and keep my heart open no matter the response.

Do I Still Want to Minister?

Yes, I do.

But I am going to need to follow hard after Jesus, obey completely, serve unconditionally, and look toward heaven for my reward. There is no promise of fame, bright lights, or admiring fans. That is not ministry, that is entertainment.

Because ministry- whether writing, speaking, teaching, working in a church, working with the homeless, going on the mission field, or teaching Vacation Bible school- is never about the minister.

My work is never about me.

All the work, in order to build the Kingdom of God, needs to be about Jesus.

How about you? Do you want to minister? Our world needs you. The people you come in contact with need Jesus.

  • Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24 NASB)

How about we encourage each other to do whatever God calls us to do?

We can read 2 Corinthians 6:4-11 and then get started!

Share below how you want to answer God's call and I will pray for you.