Friday, May 7, 2010

What they didn't tell me about Ministry

I learned lots of good things at theological college but what they didn't tell me was how subjective ministry would be!  Mikey has been blogging about how hard we should work in ministry, what our hours should be and how to be balanced, not over doing it.  Ministry, as Mikey pointed out, is hard work, this is true, you begin teaching knowing it'll be hard work, or start as a police officer knowing you'll have to work nights.  What has struck me though, is how much personality defines a persons ministry.  Whose conception of how the church should work is right? How do we define worthy and unworthy tasks let alone measuring their success?  What's the best way to do things?  Who should be mentored, which ministries need closing, what needs to be empahsised, what needs to be dodged and what needs to be rebutted?  Then in the midst of all this are factors you can't control a brilliant sermon that encourages and rebukes delivered to an nearly empty church because everyone has the plague.  Here is my working hypothesis:

  1. Be of good character: Obey God, preach faithfully, pray, don't be immoral ...
  2. Manage circumstances: Heaters in winter, Fred should meet the new guy ...
  3. Engineer situations: If I put Mary on the leadership team, here's a copy of the Prodigal God ...
So that is my working hypothesis for the foundation/essence of my ministry. However the subjectivity of ministry means that your majors should be things you enjoy or are good at, this doesn't exclude being stretched sometimes by doing things you don't like.  But ministry overall shouldn't be a hard slog of unpleasant tasks, a work ethic which in the end will undermine your ministry.  (Sort of like destroying the city in order to save the city.)

1 comment:

arthurandtamie said...

I reckon some of these questions/issues tie in pretty closely with church size: I figure that the smaller a church, the more easily a minister can get sucked into 'death by administration'. I was once in a booming church that was at the 200 barrier, and the senior minister was being phoned to change the toner in the office! I guess it's even more of an issue around the 70 zone (that Mikey's been talking about)...
A.