What shall we call this ministry?
A teaching ministry … a healing ministry … an outreach ministry … just ministry? Maybe a mission ministry … a home ministry … a pastoral ministry … a discipling ministry? Is calling it “ministry” enough … will people know what we mean – will we know what we mean?
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
How about we do away with all this “ministry stuff”. Seems to me any category focuses on one at the expense of another. And then it takes committees to distinguish which is which. And that takes chairpersons and members. And that means minutes and committee meetings. And that means diaries and paperwork. And that means funding and expenses. And that means priorities …
And then – when the infighting kicks off – the niches and clichés kick in. And then we struggle to retain the fire of faith. We become tepid – less oxygenated – less alive together than we are apart. And then the questions: is this place of healing really a “place of healing”? Is this place really a place where “all are welcome”? Is the building “welcoming enough”? And we conclude – obviously – that we need revival, and a committee to organise it, and yet another mission and ministry to fan the flames.
This “place” is not a building, establishment, institution or anything “not of us”. This place IS us! Each of us. That is “church” – you, me, and God. Anywhere and everywhere.
Maybe it is just me – you know that old “there was no room at the inn” phrase we love to quote? I think our modern version is much more subtle: “there is no room in the diary” – now that is far more effective – far more “us”.
So how about we commit rather than committee?
Each of us to each of us – without waiting to be told to by the minister, the pastor, the committee, the … without anything that excuses “us” from not. Not with the polished smiles, nor the polite small talk. That is socialising, that is hiding, that is impressing, that is choosing who “to be nice to” (and who not) … how about loving God Soft Hands Jesus as He Loves us?
The damaged others. Sinful others. Hurting others. Smelly others. Obnoxious others. Labelled others. All dressed up and smart and dying inside while they sit and pray with us others. All in control and looking inspiring and falling off a cliff inside while we smile and share polite small talk others. The my life is falling apart and I can’t hold it together and please will someone reach out and touch me others. They walk amongst us – because we are us – but there is no room in the diary.
How about we learn from God Soft Hands Jesus?
He loves us as we are, where we are, and always for what we are – intimately – tenderly – respectfully. Learn from me: His Light of Love – His Yoke of Love. Ours as well – if we each allow.
He was and is speaking to me. To you. To each of us. Is that not enough?
Or is that why we need another ministry and another committee … because it saves us from having to just love each other?