Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Messy Ministry

Ministry is messy.

You do this long enough, you realize it’s just plain messy.

I am currently experiencing an unusually intense period/season of ministry. Over the years, these periods/seasons have come and gone, but this time I have this fear -
I fear this one is the foundation or prelude for more extended periods/seasons of this very kind of pace/intensity/stress that never seem to wane.

Worse, I fear I will adapt/adjust to this, and become immune to the effect that this kind of pace has on my life, my relationships, my health, and my effectiveness as a child of God, son, husband, father, grandfather and minister.

Expectations, deadlines, goals, budgets, meetings, decisions about the future, decisions about songs for this Sunday, evaluations, assessments, reviews, initiatives, retreats, calendars, rehearsals, charts, PowerPoint slides, arrangements, scheduling of people, video venues, multiple services, assumptions, titles, proposals, templates, summaries, campuses, hand-outs, strategies, objectives, stage sets, monitors, microphones, screens, reports, outlines, agendas, policies, reimbursements, weddings, funerals, relational conflict, leadership styles, simple church, strength-finders, finding your place, model-netics, summits, programming alignment, interviews, reference checks, devotional books, rehearsal CD’s, new anthems, leadership teams, more meetings, ministry to the “least of these”, ministry to the “I have everything I need”, ministry to the “heartbroken and miserable”, partnership ministry, misunderstandings, dependence on technology, e-mail inbox, ………on and on the list goes……

If you are reading this, and you think I am slamming my church or only finding the negative in my current situation - I am not.

I could not believe more in the mission of the church, and I believe wholeheartedly in the mission of my church.

I do believe, but I am very overwhelmed at the moment with the business of ministry - ministry is messy!

So, I remember what God reminds me to remember. I open my Bible, I pray my prayers, I ask my kids and my wife to forgive me for working too many hours, I take my day off, I make myself “lie down in green pastures” knowing that if I don’t, God will. My soul needs restoring.

I love what I do. I want to love who I am while I am doing what I do.

Right now, I’m not so sure.

Rest, perspective, silence, and faith are my best friends.

I often remind colleagues in ministry to “stay the course” - tonight I need to take some of the medicine I have been prescribing…….