The Ministry Trap
As I sit here and think of what to write for this newsletter I am struggling. I don’t know how to write this without seeming too harsh or negative. I have been to a few trainings and meetings this past month and I have witnessed the best and worst of folks acting out what they think is following Christ. I don’t want to seem judgmental or “greater than thou” but it is troublesome when I witness followers of Christ so hung up on the small, meaningless and really insignificant details of ministry. When I hear these things I’m saddened. When did ministry stop being about serving and glorifying our Savior and start being about what we get out of it and how we feel when we leave? Our sinful nature has allowed us to think that Church and its ministries are supposed to be about us and not Him.
I am and will always try to be the first to admit that I fall into this trap often. I find myself constantly reminding myself that why I serve is far greater than the program we can put together. So often we find ourselves focused on the who, what, when, where and how of ministry that we forget the Why. That why is Jesus! He should be the ultimate focus of all of our ministry. He should be the reason we serve and at the heart of why we serve. I am reminded of Simon in Acts 8, when Simon witnesses Peter and John delivering the Holy Spirit to those who believed. Simon was recently baptized as a new believer and he wanted to have the that same power- to be able to deliver the Holy Spirit to those who chose to believe. But in asking, Peter rebuked Simon and said “for your heart is not right before God.” Simon, I think, really wanted to believe and he wanted to help new believers in their walk, but I think he wanted it for the wrong reason. I think the reason Peter said what he said about Simon’s heart is that Simon wanted that power for himself. He wanted the power to deliver the Holy Spirit to bring glory to himself. When we start trying to change ministry to be about what we get out of it or how it makes us feel, we are becoming like Simon. I think we all need a heart check and we need to check it daily. Is our heart right before God? Are we so focused on the details of ministry that we losing sight of why we are serving?
So next time we think that worship should be a certain way or that a certain ministry could be run better if we did it differently, or when we are doing ministry the same way because that’s the way we’ve always done it and because it’s easier that way, or if we are struggling to be involved in ministry because we don’t like the details of it, we should check our hearts. Ministry should be and will always be about Jesus! If we are focused on Him with our whole heart then whatever ministry we do will be centered on Him. If we focus on ourselves and the silly details, ministry becomes a broken shell of what it could be.
My prayer is that we can all focus on Christ as the center of all ministry. When we do that the details will fall perfectly into place.