What is ministry? This question has been rolling around in my head for a while now.
Many would say it's making a living by sharing the hope Jesus has and meeting needs. There are many ways that can happen. Being a full time pastors, worship leader, youth or children's minister. Traveling overseas to do humanitarian work alongside sharing about Christ.
Webster's says it is
- The office, duties, or functions of a minister
- A person or thing through which something is accomplished
I am sure there are many other definitions as well. However, just as important, if not more, is the mindset behind "ministry."
Over the last three years I have been actively involving myself in "ministry." I began working with college students on campus at the University of Oregon. Then I moved to Alaska to work with a construction ministry, that focused on villages in the Norton Sound Region. Then it was working alongside a church plant in the Anchorage area.
Each of these things where great contributors to who I am today. They each brought challenges, blessings, changes and growth. Then over the last six months I have not been involved with "ministry." I have instead worked in a secular job, simply earning a living.
I have several friends who are working as social workers, investigators, child care advocates, family support, foster families, doctors, and nurses. Each of them love the Lord with their whole heart and seek to use their job to share the hope Jesus gives.
I have always considered them in "ministry" I know they have difficult jobs. That they need support, encouragement, prayers, and love.
But I never saw myself that way. I was working to pay the bills. Waiting for the summer so I could go back to "real" ministry. I was using the idea of ministry as an excuse to become complacent. I stopped getting out of my comfort zone. \\
Then I realized I wanted to see God working. So my perspective changed. I began to see God moving around me. I began earnestly seeking to recognize how he moved in lives around me.
I was hit by a ton of bricks when I realized I was hiding, using the idea of ministry as my ultimate goal. Losing sight of what God had in front of me, because I was looking past now into the future.
Ministry is as much as the attitude of actively seeking God to move through us as believers as it is a title.
As I heard on a podcast recently "stay uncomfortable." Actively ask God to use you in YOUR life. Do not miss the present looking towards the future, or back at the past.