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Homecoming May 8, 2007

Posted by amybeth in Deep.
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This Sunday, two of our young people came home from Bible school for the summer and they were asked to come up and share with the congregation how their year had gone.  I have to admit I had a jealous moment…how come they get to share about their year, and I, who’ve been working just as hard but has been home, don’t get to.  Then I thought, well, that’s just the point…I’ve been home.  But as I thought about it more, I think it has more to do with the Bible school thing, in particular Elim, than it does with just being away.  And that got me thinking some more….(lots of thinking going on here…ha ha).

I was talking with a friend the other day about my struggle to settle on the idea of heading towards graduate school.  I’ve got this concept of ‘ministry’ that makes all the time I spend studying seem like a non-fruitful endeavor.  She encouraged me that I am running the race just like Paul instructs us to, but I am running a cross-country race rather than a 100 metre dash.  The rewardss of the short-distance races are immediate and there’s always a crowd cheering the runners on.  But with cross-country, the reward is a long way off and no one sticks around to watch the runners.  That helped, but I still struggle. I find it hard when people ask me what I’m up to and when I say I’m still in school they kind of look at me like ‘oh…still…when are you going to get on with life’.  Maybe they aren’t actually thinking that…but thats what I feel.

No wonder those who feel called to minister in the marketplace get discouraged and feel like they aren’t understood.  How can we celebrate all that people do for God…not just the typical ‘ministry’ type things?  For example, what about having different people share each week, not just the returning Bible school students.  Could we celebrate with the accountant whose been walking with integrity despite pressures to compromise, with the janitor whose been praying over the offices where he works, the soccer coach who wants to instill in his team a sense of team work and accomplishment, the teacher who struggles to offer encouragement to her students in the midst of strict regulations about what she can and cannot say…and on and on?  Missionaries come and talk to us about all they are doing to serve God at their post…and while there is usually something about preaching and salvations, often there is a lot about building projects, playing with orphans, the daily grind of finding food, fixing automobiles, navigating relationships, dealing with government agencies, etc.  Somehow their mundane stuff seems grand…all sacrificing for the kingdom, but the everyday stuff of those who serve hear, who are building the relationships and the testimony of their lives here in order to prepare hearts for the gospel…just seems…mundane.  Why?

I’m not saying that we should honor Bible school students and missionaries less…I’m just saying we should honor all the others who fill the ‘pews’ of our churches just as much, recognizing the daily investment they make in building a highway for our God wherever they work and play.  We sometimes complain that the layman doesn’t see themselves as a minister of the Gospel and puts more weight on the pastor to do the ‘work of the kingdom’.  I think changing that mindset is going to take a certain infrastructure change in how we operate as churches…we can say a layperson is a minister all we want, but as long as we are only externally valuing canonical ‘ministry’ acts, the attitude that the majority of life is just drudgery and not kingdom living is going to persist.

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Comments»

1. patti - May 11, 2007

I (a pastor) always dread the spontaneous “share” question. Sometimes canonical ministry acts can feel pretty mundane too!

I agree with you. I celebrate the guy in my church who coaches kids baseball so well, that parents ask for their kids to be on his team…I celebrate the woman in my church who prays before court cases, for wisdom and favour…I celebrate the surgeon in my church who prays before every operation…I celebrate the landscaper in my church who hires people who need a second chance…I celebrate the banker in my church who has all kinds of “God-moments” with her clients…and the list goes on.

2. Hamameliss - May 23, 2007

Hear, Hear, Hear!! I concur with your statement. When are we going to encourage and invite those with the “other” stories to share up front in the same way that the pastor does? If we all feel we have an equal story or encouragement to share, will we be less apathetic in church? You might want to check out some books by Frank Viola, he has some pretty radical ideas along these lines. I don’t agree with him totally, but he definately has a different perspective!


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