I begin with a question. It is a question for you, for me, for everyone, really. What is the vision for your church? Personally, what is the vision of your ministry?
First let me say that I just am uncomfortable with the terminology “my” ministry. Isn’t it all really God’s ministry? Isn’t God the one working in us and through us? Does it really matter what we want for our ministry? Shouldn’t we be following God’s plan for our ministry? Don’t worry; I actually have a direction for all this. I don’t plan on just leaving a bunch of questions floating around in the air like lost birthday balloons searching for a birthday boy or girl. (Though, I do love questions. I love the honesty that comes when we are allowed to ask questions. And I believe that even when we leave the room and questions are left unanswered, we can still feel this great sense of unity that finds its home in the fact we are simply allowed to ask questions.)
I recently had a conversation with a new friend about what I want to do in ministry. (I am, after all, a Youth and Family Ministry major.) While I was unsatisfied with my answer (and unsatisfied that my answer was so un-brilliant and un-theological and un-just-about-everything), what I said was honest.
my ministry my life to be about being with broken people as they are walking through life. I don’t need to fix people, and I don’t need to mend people. But I do need to point to the One who mends the wounds and heals the hurts. I need to be living in a way that not only am I growing closer to God, but I am taking people around me closer to God with each and every step taken. Really, I just want to be with people. I want to feed people around a really large dining room table. I love the community built around meals. I want to be the person that brings the safety goggles and (if needed) the hammer and says, “I will be here when you want to break things and I will be here when you want to put things back together.” There is a paradox of pain and vulnerability and there is where I want to live. I know what I am saying is not that insightful, but this is where I find myself constantly coming back. I want to be with broken people.
I don’t know what that looks like right now. It could look like a number of things: prison ministry, woman’s ministry, children’s ministry (but hopefully not children’s ministry), associate pastor, youth pastor, maybe just a person. (Side note: I briefly explained this to one of my friends and she said, “It sounds like you want to be a pastor’s wife.” I laughed at her. I have always said I never want to be a pastor’s wife. I mean, maybe I could be the wife of a pastor, but I also want to be a pastor, so I don’t know what that would look like.) I believe that I am called to preach, but being a pastor is so much more than preaching. I don’t know how people can be a pastor if they do not have the gifts of a shepherd.
I want to live a life that is messy. I do not want a pretty, polished life. I do not want to own fancy dishes that are only used on special occasions. I want to have a red kitchen with plates that are used until they break. I want to love on people and have people love on me. I want to pour myself out. I want to rest in the Lord, but I want to also have days where I am running until I fall over. I want to be surrounded by people who support me, and I want to be the support for other people. I know that can be lived out through the Church, but much more just in community. I want to drink coffee and read books and laugh and smile. I want to admit my brokenness. I want to be okay with the fact that no one has it all together. I want to be able to cry and be told that it is okay. I want to be able to give bone marrow and blood. I want to give sweat and tears. I want to be there to say, “It is okay that you’re broken, but sometimes we are meant to be broken. That way, God is the one who can put the pieces back together.” I want to be there in the valleys and the mountains. Life is an hourglass, so I have been listening to in a song lately, and I want to be there as the sands are squeezing through the glass. I just want to be with people as they are journeying, stumbling, breaking, fixing, hurting, healing, lying, loving, and living.
I know, that’s not much of a vision. Good thing I have two years before I have to write my philosophy of ministry.