Breaking Down Ministry Boxes

Remember.

I sat under a speaker at a conference last week who brought me to the bottom of myself. He distracted us with the left jab, speaking on the importance of keeping Christ at the center of your life in ministry and everything else— then he hit us hard with the right hook. He said remember. Remember your first love. Remember when Jesus called you. Remember what you were doing, planning, striving for and remember how God changed you. What did you do? How did you respond?

We sat there and reflected, wow- it took me back, but it also brought me near. I challenge you to stop and think about it, if you’re reading this, you’re probably in ministry, around ministry, running from ministry, somewhere in the middle.. Stop. Think. Remember.

I had it all figured out back then… HA. I was going to move to another country, share Jesus and contextualize the gospel through some form of art. When I first heard God whisper stay to my world traveling, nation loving, artistic, storytelling heart. I was devastated. When I remembered back to my ‘calling’ it always enhanced the nations. I was a missionary. My heart beat to the rhythm of Matthew 28:18-20 and I never realized that God could be preparing me to stay, FOR the nations. For the local church.

Where Do You Fit?

Church planting.. a whole new world, in comparison to the traditional missionary. Where do I fit?– A naive question from a third year seminarian. I knew that if you were a man you could be a church planter, but I had NO IDEA where I fit into the scenario. I was a 25-year-old, single female with an undergrad degree in photojournalism and broadcast journalism and was currently wading my way through seminary classes, praying for projects instead of papers. Yep, I was a grad school student, for lack of a better vocabulary bank, that was allergic to schooling. I didn’t necessarily enjoy working in children’s departments either and didn’t have much experience with women’s ministry… so where in the church planting world did I fit? 

You’re the Only You.

Seeking wisdom from a mentor I asked this echoing question. The one that entered my mind every time a church planter came to speak at a luncheon. Every time someone suggested I join a team because I’m single and they need childcare help. Every time someone asked why I wasn’t going overseas anymore. Where do I fit?

He looked me square in the eye and answered my question by saying I was asking the wrong question. Wait, what? No- I want to know this answer. But, he was right. I was trying to fit into a position that God didn’t call me to. He told me to make the box, don’t fold yourself up to a shape you weren’t intended to fit into. 

Carry the Right Weapon.

Okay, if I didn’t fit into a pre-made box, how do I make one? So I started asking a different question. What weapon did God mold me to carry?

It made me think of David, Moses, Joseph and so many more. We see David give up Saul’s armor and instead fight Goliath with his slingshot and pebbles, knowing he’d championed over lions and bears while wielding his weapon. God didn’t take the staff from Moses’ hand, no— he was a shepherd, therefore God used his staff to turn water and lead Israel out of slavery. We can seriously do this all day… Joseph’s gift was interpreting dreams, God used this to move him up the line of Egyptian leadership, so God could again rescue His people.

What armor are we trying to fit into, instead of using the ‘slingshot’ that God has gifted us to thrive with. Personally my weapon is a paintbrush, a design program and a camera. Through these avenues I can share the gospel while visually breaking language barriers in my community.

The Challenge.

Ultimately, I wrote this post to challenge you. I feel like often we’re trying to fit into ministry boxes or make others fit into those boxes. God is more creative than that. He didn’t make two of me because He didn’t want two of me. Same goes for you. Stop. Stop convincing your laymen that because they don’t have a fancy degree they can’t be an elder. Stop directing every single millennial onto coffee, hospitality and childcare teams. Stop creating fluff and instead, get to know your brothers and sisters. Find your administrators, your planners, your artists and singers. Find your dreamers, builders, plumbers, electricians, and surfers! I promise you God wants to utilize the skills he’s talented them with.

I urge you to remember. Go back to the place that God called you, remember the importance of who He created you to be, and stop forming yourself into the shape of other people— God doesn’t make mistakes. Remember who created you and what He created you to do.

Posted in From the Center.

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