When The Act Of Ministry Becomes More Important Than The People

There have been some difficult, challenging and at times, painful lessons that I have been learning lately.  These lessons have caused me to rethink the way I view ministry and my approach to it.

Have I made ministry more about the act of ministry or the people who are involved?  You see, there is a real difference.  When it comes to ministry, some believers get so wrapped up in the package of ministry that they lose sight of the significance of ministry.  Ministry is about people, not about the wrappings of what you are doing.

This can happen in any realm of ministry.  It can happen for those who serve in the choir.  Suddenly it becomes about who gets to sing the solo next week or who sings better.  Yet the choir is a ministry that is meant to serve the people of the congregation.  It is a way to engage them in worship so that they can focus on the goodness of God.

It can also happen in teaching Sunday school to children.  This is one of the ministries that can become more of a burden than a joy.  I have to be honest; I have struggled with this one at times.  I can’t tell you the number of Sundays I had that sense of dread when it comes to dealing with the children.

I discovered that my focus had become skewed.  I had forgotten that this is a ministry that is not about me and whether or not I feel like it or if I think I can handle the challenges that come with it…it is about ministering to those children and teaching them about the love of Jesus. 

No matter what ministry you are involved in, it’s important to remember the purpose behind it.  It’s not about you, the title of your ministry or whether it meets your needs.  It is about the people within the ministry.

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  1. Joe_Sewell said:

    Sorry for coming in late on this; I’m catching up with a major backlog. Consider This: the people aren’t the most important thing, either. Serving God is. The problem with focusing on the people is that your “success” or “failure” can become caught up in how well you “minister” to the people … or, rather, how they respond to your ministry. Is the ministry of teaching kids lessened when the kids just don’t get it? Maybe, maybe not. It could be you losing focus, or it could be the parents dropping the ball in following up. There will be times when God will call us away from a ministry — even a treasured one or an “important” one like teaching kids — and into something else. Why? Because He knows better. Perhaps there’s someone else who needs the experience in that area. Perhaps a different talent of ours needs to be brought forward & developed. Perhaps we’re just losing sight of the why and looking only at the what of ministry. Which is probably your point anyhow. 🙂

    March 7, 2011
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  2. Yes, you add other important dimensions to all of this. Ministry encompasses so much more than just the little bit I wrote. It is about serving God, you are right. And there are definitely times when we are supposed to step down. The balance is knowing when we are doing something for God and when we are doing it for the wrong reasons.

    March 7, 2011
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