3 lies that keep me from ministry

I am exhausted today.

This week, I got a little closer to becoming the the kind of leader I want to be. I felt the heart inside my chest break for the women in our body.  I spent myself in prayer and through tears I begged God to move.

He let me be a minister of His Gospel instead of an event coordinator; a programmer.Screen Shot 2013-06-08 at 2.49.07 PM

Turns out, it is so much easier to ‘program’:

  • organize, coordinate and teach an event about God

than it is to minister:

  • organize prayerfully, coordinate with a mind to shepherd and empower the body of Christ, and teach through a desperate and deep dependence on the Spirit of God out of a heart broken for His people.

I sort of want to cry right now at the thought of doing it all again tomorrow.

I feel the pull on my heart – the whispering lies:

Lie #1: if you were doing this ‘right’ it would be easy

I hear Paul’s voice echoing in my head:

being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves,

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day,

we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

I guess if ministry is about laboring and raising over spiritual children, then it makes sense that we should feel as exhausted and spent as a mother giving birth.

Lie #2: Ministering like this means you doubt God’s sovereignty or His grace

I can hear it in my head: the lie that I don’t have to be burdened for these women because God is sovereign; the lie that I’m justified already, so what I do doesn’t matter.

I just read through Jonathan Edward’s final sermon to his congregation so I’m reminded that a right view of God will result in a heart desperate to be faithful.

I am not being selfdeprecating or dramatic when I say I have much to be ashamed of in both my leadership of others and my submission to leadership.

The leadership above me has received my faithful service, my advocacy and defense of their decisions, but, I have often listened to their words with a critical and arrogant heart. I have rejected many opportunities to receive grace through their exhortation and encouragement

While I have taught the Word as faithfully as I know how and passionately challenged those I lead to engage with the true character of God, I know I have not prayed for them as I ought. I have rarely allowed my heart to break for the women under my leadership.  And God will witness Himself, that I have often behaved as if they are a burden to me.

It breaks my heart.

I trust the blood of Jesus to cover all my sin, but that same blood showed me the greatness of my God.  I trust His sovereign hand in the life of those I lead, but it is devastating to contemplate missing the opportunity to be an instrument in His hand.

I don’t want to waste these days.

I want to be the kind of person who seeks to suck every drop of sanctification out of the leadership He has placed over me, and seeks to give everything I have for the sanctification of others.

Lie #3: there is more comfort in programming than ministry

I have told you all often that I am terrified of using God.

Doing ministry vs. programming will reveal if I am in this thing for my glory or God’s.

Programming and ministry don’t look that different to the casual observer.  If anything – I get more glory out of programming.  People often leave making much of me or the experience they had, rather than God.  Programing takes mental and strategic strength.  It takes time and effort.

Programming can be hard, but it doesn’t require that I turn my insides out and pour myself before the Father in need.  It costs less of my personal capacity and provides more praise from men.

The only reasons to do ministry instead of programming are (1) belief that God’s glory holds more joy than anything else, (2) lasting change in the lives of those I lead matters more to me than what they think of me.

For doubters like me – the comfort you feel when you suddenly realize you’re doing something that you would never do unless you trusted the promises of God – that comfort far outweighs any this life offers.

Bring on tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “3 lies that keep me from ministry

  1. I so get this post. This excerpt from Theirs is the Kingdom by Robert D. Lupton is one of the things I go back to when I’m feeling exhausted in ministry – I hope it encourages: “The fundamental building blocks of the kingdom are relationships. Not programs, systems, or productivity. But inconvenient, time-consuming, intrusive relationships. The kingdom is built on personal involvements that disrupt schedules and drain energy. When I enter into redemptive relationships with others, I lose much of my capacity to produce desired results with a minimum expenditure of energy, time, money, or materials. In short, relationships sabotage my efficiency. A part of me dies. Is this perhaps what our Lord meant when he said we must lay down our lives for each other?”
    Thank you so much for faithfully sharing your thoughts and pointing them all back to Christ and the gospel. Thank you for using your gift to build up the church. Your writings are a blessing to me!

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