“Ministry is overrated” That’s rather a provocative statement. I apologize if I’ve just made you spit out your coffee in surprise at those words. I’ll give you a moment to wipe your screen down. Let me explain.
This time last year I was a youth pastor in London, working with young people from a variety of backgrounds. I was using my hard earned degree in theology and youth ministry to share the Gospel every day with young people and disciple them as a full time minister.
I thought I had a perfect understanding of what “ministry” really is.
Fast forward to present day. I am now working in the kitchen at YWAM Montana Lakeside. I spend my days preparing and serving lunch and dinner to many hungry missionaries. The work is in no way related to my previous experience in ministry or my theological training and yet, I’ve never been happier or more content.
I know, it sounds crazy right? And you would be joining many of my friends and family from back home by thinking that I am a bit nuts for walking away from a career, a home, and everything else just to chop some carrots and wash some dishes.
Thankfully, there is so much more to the picture. I get to bless people everyday with delicious food and I’m blessed when I hear them laugh and converse in the cafeteria as friendships are made and dreams are shared. Jesus has shown me something that has well and truly blown my mind.
You don’t have to be doing “ministry” to minister
Did you know that you can do ministry in any situation you find yourself in?
We make the mistake of thinking that leading children’s church on Sunday mornings is ministry but helping a neighbor out with childcare is not.
Or maybe we think that it’s only “ministry” when we preach to the congregation but not when we are at the office spending time with co-workers. Or perhaps it’s “ministry” when you are part of an evangelism team on the streets but not when you are walking amongst the same lost people in the grocery store.
I was certainly guilty of that mindset. In London, my weekend was very precious to me and I guarded my off-time with utmost care. When I first came to Montana I was putting myself under extreme pressure to “really minister” whenever I had the chance. I would approach every conversation with a member of the public with an agenda. I wanted to tell them about Jesus, at the very least pray for them, and preferably throw in some cool words from the Lord. Tears were a bonus.
Things started to change as Jesus helped me see that serving in the kitchen is ministry. I don’t need to burn myself out to please Him or validate myself as a “real Christian”.
These thoughts solidified as I spent time reading The Master Plan of Evangelism by Dr Robert Coleman. This book put words to the thoughts that God had been stirring in my heart. Which were “The multitudes cannot know the Gospel unless they have a living witness. Merely giving them an explanation will not suffice. The wandering masses of the world must have a demonstration of what to believe they must have a mentor that will stand among them and say ‘follow me I know the way’”.
Ministry in everyday life
I’m so grateful for the example Jesus sets for us in the gospels
I love the examples of ministry we see demonstrated by Jesus in the gospels. Sometimes Jesus would preach to huge crowds of people, but many times we see him eating dinner with acquaintances or conversing one-on-one with people he happened to meet. He spent three years of his life living with his disciples sharing absolutely everything with them… and then he washed their feet! I’m so grateful for the example Jesus sets for us in the gospels. It’s one of total immersion by living life as ministry. It would’ve been a different story for the many people who Jesus healed on the Sabbath if He turned to them and said “sorry I can’t heal you today, it’s my day off”.
Friends, I want to encourage you that whatever you find yourself doing is ministry if you do it for Him. You can point people to The Lord wherever you are and whatever you do. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, it can be simply living out your love for Jesus in the environment you happen to be in with the people you happen to be with.
The traditional concept of ministry is overrated! Ministry isn’t just something pastors and evangelists do, it’s a lifestyle. It’s living life with Jesus every day in every situation.
I want to invite you to come to join us at YWAM Montana Lakeside.
Here at YWAM Montana Lakeside we are called to make Christian disciples, to evangelize the lost and to mobilize the church to action by challenging and giving opportunity to children, teens and adults for strategic short and long-term missions worldwide.
We’re looking for volunteers to join us in our mission to know God and make him known, together! You can learn more and see our open positions by checking out our Staff Needs page. www.ywammontana.org/staffing-needs