Get Real: Authentic Ministry in a Busy World
“Do you feel the weight of the world singing sorrow, or to you is it just not real
cause you got your own things yeah we all have our things I guess.”
— The Rocket Summer — “Do You Feel”
What is ministry? Each week I go into the office and I have a few things that I have do every week:
- Send out an email to youth group parents
- Study and write my lesson for Sunday night
- Check and answer emails
- Work on upcoming events
- Staff Prayer/Meeting Tuesday morning
- Attend a Tuesday night meeting
- Prayer meeting on Wednesday night
- Small group on Thursday Night
- Youth on Sunday Night
Then there are the things that I do as they come up:
- Attending sporting events
- Going to students’ schools
- Weekend events
- Youth Pastor network meetings
You get the point because you have your own list of to do’s each week. Many of your schedules are probably even more packed than mine because you are doing ministry along with another job. However, my question remains. What is ministry and is all this “stuff” that I do accomplishing anything? I will kill the suspense now and say that yes I feel like we are acocmplishing a great number of things at Lewisburg Alliance Church, however I often miss perspective on the ministry opportunities that are around me.
My area of the country was slammed by flooding this past month. Tropical storm Lee gave us everything it had and I heard story after story of flood damage. In fact, one of our local middle schools is going to have to be demonlished and rebuilt because the flood damage is too severe. Also, the state fair that has never been cancelled before, is cancelled this year (there’s a first time for everything). So you would think that this youth pastor would see the hurting community, rally the troops of students together, and go into the community in church t-shirts to represent the body of Christ in a crisis. However, that perspective completely missed this youth pastor. It wasn’t until one of my students proposed the idea that I jumped into action and got together some students to help an elderly lady get things back in order. Why didn’t I see it first? Why, with all of my school and youth ministry training did I not think of that idea first? [Thank you Maggie for being more sensitive to people’s needs than your Bible school trained youth pastor!]
The quote at the top of this page is from a song by The Rocket Summer and it is a song that has been wrecking me! The first verse goes like this:
“I’m thinking bout other things I heard about today, all this week and tomorrow.
And how these hands could create some better things for bettering
but you see now I got my own things.
I can’t help it I got too many issues I own so I cannot help I’m afraid, yeah.
But keep on preaching, preaching and heal the world, lip service makes us look great.”
See the fact is that this song describes many of us both in ministry and in life. We think about all the things that are going around us but when the issues that we are dealing with come around, they choke out the issues of the world. Where it should be second nature to see the needs of the people and have compassion on them like Christ did, we miss it.
I will get really open and honest with my One Beat family, I DO THIS ALL THE TIME! There is a guy in our town that I see about twice a week who walks around with his hiking backpack and duffle bag. Sometimes I will see him multiple times in a day as he walks from one place to another. Every time I see him I say to myself, “I should stop, get him a meal, and listen to his story.” You know how many times I have stopped? ZERO. Yes I’m a pastor but just like anyone else, I fail time and time again and I have made a pact to stop and take him out for a meal the next time I see him. See the deal is that I can preach to my students about reaching out, but like this song says, “keep on preaching, preaching and heal the world, lip service makes us look great.”
Do we feel the weight of the world singing sorrow? This isn’t something that we can do every now and again when we are feeling guilty, but a lifestyle that needs to be developed. I want to develop this area in my life so that hopefully my students will catch it and create a culture of service. I want to develop this area in my life so that when I have kids, they will think of it as second nature rather than something that is a chore. I can preach reaching out and impacting culture, but I have to impact culture myself. We must see the souls behind the problems and seek to reach out beyond our churched youth.
This is a call for integrity for all of you people of influence in students’ lives. Whether you’re a parent, youth pastor, youth volunteer, or adult in the church, we must live a lifestyle that is worth being mimicked by our students. If we are living a lifestyle of service and love, our students can’t help but notice and copy your lifestyle. We have to get rid of the callous on our hearts and seek to tenderly see people as Christ did. This is a challenge for authentic Christ emulating leaders. We must start practicing what we preach because that is the beginnings of real ministry.
Posted on September 26, 2011, in Cultural Issues and tagged Authentic, Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Culture, Family Ministry, Pastor, Religion, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.