I’ve learned a valuable lesson about ministry while traveling the world to do missions. You learn a lot actually, but there is a reoccurring theme that keeps rising to the surface. I think I can better help you understand the lesson I’ve learned by explaining briefly what ministry looked like before I started traveling.
I was a Youth Pastor at a church and I LOVED it! It was always an adventure and perfect for my temperament. I would go to school events and hang out with the students as much as I could. I would also be asked to speak at various events around town. Planning camping trips, games, parties, and retreats was normal. It was so much fun and I loved the way I could see God using me to impact students.
The unseen problem I had however, was my ministry was NOT students. Although I was in fact commissioned and called specifically to reach students, but just students. The problem is God calls us to reach people everywhere, and I had fallen into a routine of reaching only students. If you were to ask me if I wanted to reach everyone I would of course said yes but in retrospect that was not my focus.
So fast forward to where I am today in Jamaica. To date I’ve done ministry in 15 different countries and one thing that remains constant is ministry on the road is vague at best. It’s not as outlined as it used to be. I don’t give weekly reports at a staff meeting or have office hours to plan. Ministry has become whoever I’m around. Sometimes it’s children in an orphanage, sometimes it’s the worker next to me on the construction site.
Ministry is much broader than a job description –
it is a lifestyle.
People are all around us but we fall so easily into a routine. We may teach a Sunday school class and as we routinely drive through the bank window we never take time to consider they are OUR ministry also. The secretary at our office was created to have an intimate and vibrant relationship with Christ and we have been called to play a role in that for them.
Ultimately, most people know who Jesus is because someone reached out to them. The flip side is that most people do not know Jesus because they haven’t been reached yet. I’ve learned that God will sometimes allow a routine to develop for us because someone along that path needs routinely reminded that they are loved by an infinite God. He blesses us with the ability to carry that incredible message!
If we aren’t careful, we can miss so many great opportunities by not being present and available. As we rush and jump to what we think we “need” to do, we miss a lot of what God has called us to do. My best advice to combat this? Never define your ministry. Consider yourself commissioned to be a missionary along the life you’re already living. You are called to reach the people that (insert your name) is constantly around and the people that cross their path.
If you are believer, then you have been called to reach these people. Never let your calling get washed out by routine or a defined agenda.
All this may sound like a lot of work but we have to remember what a blessing an honor this is. To be called God’s ambassadors. What a crazy title but it exists only for those who carry the good news to people. We represent God and we have the ability to show people who God is.