Ah, ministry. Whether it’s full-time or part-time, ministry is the greatest thing one can do with their lives. “Ministry” comes from the Greek word diakoneo, which mean “to serve” or douleuo, which can mean “to serve as a slave.” It’s often seen as service to God, and for the Christian this example of ministry is found in the life of Jesus.
I believe ministry doesn’t just take place on big platforms, or during huge moments of faith. It’s much bigger than this. Ministry happens every day of our lives. It’s the conversations we have with people, the way we give to others, and how we display Jesus in our world. Ministry is about stopping for the moments in life that others might overlook. It’s about loving the people that others may find “unlovable”.
Often, I hear people say they are “called to ministry”. It’s an exciting statement and it usually comes from someone who is completely sold out on loving God and serving Him with their lives. But many times this declaration can come without a full understanding of what ministry is. Let’s be honest. Ministry puts a huge demand on our lives. Whether it’s working for a church, traveling to different countries to provide aid, or dropping your co-worker off after work. Ministry can pull parts out of us that we never knew were there.
If we are a part of someone’s first encounter with Jesus, or their recommitment to Jesus, we instantly become attached to their lives. Now, with literally a whole world to reach, it can be tricky, if not impossible, to be involved in everyone’s life. But for some reason we try. I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t do everything.
I know we like to think we can at times, but we can’t. We can pray, we can strategize, we can preach, we can lead, we can visit hospitals, we can dedicate children, we can meet with business owners, we can disciple, we can raise our kids, we can love our spouses, we can do that all…….but not at the same time.
You’ll never impact the world around you, until God impacts the heart inside you.
We leaders can burn ourselves out by trying to do everything, and if we’re not careful, our selfless, sacrificial serving can become burdened and obligated. The key to truly making a difference in our communities is realizing we need other people around us to help the vision God has put inside us. I want to highlight a few things that will keep us from trying to do everything.
1. Fulfill your ministry
From the jump, we’ve got to recognize what God has called us to. Many times people struggle to understand the vision of our organizations because we’re trying to do too much. What makes In-N-Out burger so awesome is there’s only a few things on the menu. They do a couple things, but they do it great! Fruitfulness isn’t always about doing more, it’s about doing better. What do you feel God has called you to?
As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5
2. Know your gauges
There’s nothing more damaging than a leader who knows they’re empty but tries to keep pouring out. This is where discipleship is so key. If we’re raising people up to do what we do, we’ll learn to be okay with not doing everything. Sometimes we just need to rest and take a break. Lazy leadership is more dangerous than you think. Every time we try to do something mediocre, we may be hindering someone else from doing it great.
3. Involve other people
Remember, Jesus used a group of 12 ordinary men to impact the world. He could have easily done everything, but there were key moments where he involved the people around Him. He multiplied the bread, but He had the disciples distribute it. What things have you been holding on to that maybe you can start distributing?
These are just three quick points (and there’s so many more) that can help us not do everything. Paul said “I have become all things to all people” not “I do all things for all people”. Let’s be aware of where we are, and realize God wants to minister to us before we go out and minister to others. We can only preach the Gospel, when we’ve truly been changed by the Gospel. If it’s finished through Jesus, we’ve got to rest in His everything, instead of creating our own.
We love you, we believe in you, we’re praying for you!