I remember when I first started in ministry. I had lots of naysayers, including people in my family. I was not the one expected to commit to full time ministry. That job was reserved for my much more “religious” brother who didn't commit as many sins as I did. Working in children's ministry was one of the only places in my life that made any sense at the time. Besides being a mom, it was the only thing that came natural and that I was good at.
Regardless of the comments from the doubters, I knew it was where I needed to be. But it didn't come without consequence or mistakes. I was so overwhelmed at that time in my life, trying to balance it all and be it all for Jesus that I lost a really great friend, and unfortunately hurt her in the process. I gave up opportunities to work elsewhere making more money, which as a single mom I needed.
No longer was I, or am I, able to make “gut” or logical decisions about my future. Every move I make or don't make involves prayer and more prayer and wise counsel, and often times tears. Me being in ministry has put my entire family in frustrating positions and financial difficulties.
Ha! I'm obviously not the salesman of the year when it comes to convincing you that ministry is awesome! Oh but it is! All of those sacrifices and struggles are worth it when you hear a teenager pray for the first time, or a kid run up to you and hug your leg on Sunday morning. When the kids in the neighborhood want to know when you will start a Bible study for them, and when teenagers don't want to move because youth group is so important to them. Then there are the proclaimed atheists who now know this Jesus that adores them. And the addicts who know that Jesus is the only answer.
It is just that in times like these, when me and my husband must make a hard decision where we don't seem to win either way, it is so hard not to feel guilty. Ministry is not just a sacrifice for me, but for my husband, for my children. I am so incredibly grateful that the sacrifice Jesus made was enough for my family to be 'all in.' But it is hard to swallow that in order for me to pursue what Jesus has for me, my husband must take a second job to support our family or work countless hours of overtime.
Ministry has these moments when you and your family must come together, completely unified, with faith in God that He will make all things right. It is ugly and beautiful all at once.
Don't give up.
What are some sacrifices you've made for ministry? Comment and let me know.
One of the things almost every Christian parent does is find VBS at any church you possible can so we can get rid of your kids for a few hours each day. We hop from church to church closest to our houses, week after week, collecting T-Shirts and craft projects in exchange for a few moments of summer peace.
I am of no exception to this rule. The only thing that is different about me is that I have been in full time ministry for 10 years, and am currently working on the staff of a church plant. What makes my qualifications pertinent is I become very in tune with the workings of every church and their ministry. I am looking for ideas, sensing the Spirit, and struggling with my nature that always wants improvement, so often I am critical.
One of the things I stay most aware of is how welcoming and inviting the church people are. I believe that the most important thing a church can do is show love with open arms. As a church plant, especially, every connection made is a possible piece of the foundation of our church. But really, the church as a whole should desire and strive to missionally reach out to every person who steps foot in our presence.
If a church in Africa or the Dominican had people walk on their property, or were going into the community to reach the out to the lost they would certainly ensure a warm smile, a welcoming hug or handshake, burning to offer a sense of hope. But in America, we tend to take for granted whether or not people “really” need Jesus or “really” need to be a part of our church– or even THE church!
I have attended 3 events at this one particular area church, each one meant to be outreach events to the community. I have filled out registration information at two of the three events. I have never been contacted and not once at any event has anyone approached me to shake my hand or invite me to a church service.
What if I was that mother who was drowning in addiction? What if I was that woman at the well? What if I was the demon-possessed man? What if I was afraid and confused about who Jesus really was and this was my ONE, meek effort to try and connect?
We as the church body should look at every person with this perspective. We should assume that every.single.person. that God brings across our path is someone that needs to be reached for Jesus. We should be self-less about our functions at church, and not get caught up in the business of doing church, but concentrate more on being Jesus.
I have three more days left of this VBS, and I am hoping to get an invite. If not, I will just allow this lesson to better me and allow me to be aware of every person’s need for Jesus. How about you? Do you invite people to meet with Jesus?
Last night was another night hangin’ with my hoodies. For those who dont know, my hoodies are the teens from the neighborhood who are pursuing Christ in the comfort of my living room. the rain didnt stop them and even with the summer, kids still show up an hour early.
My house is not just a cool place to go on a Wednesday night. I strive to create an environment of love and safety, where kids can be themselves and not experience the pressures of the world.
I feed them, and not just hot dogs. The hoodies have come to love the fact that I cook for them, and I am not the greatest chef, either! But somehow, food has become a ministry in and of itself. I just go with it. We eat together, some boysmore than others. And then scarf down brownies or cookies or s’mores!
We play a mindless game, then everyone fights over the couch and I take my spot sitting on top of an antique black trunk. I throw candy out at the kids who brought friends and the new kids who are brave enough to join our little family.
And then it begins. God teaches, and grabs their attention. Kids want to know what exactly is sin and what exactly Jesus did for us. They take everything they’ve been taught their whole 13-17 years and challenge it up against the truth presented. They pray for each other, and are concerned when others don’t show up.
A recent graduate is starting a boys group, so that they can all learn how to be Christian men. The baseball players are glad when games are rained out so they can make Uth. The girls invite their sisters and their best friends. And everyone feels the power of God. Everyone. There are moments of deafening silence, where even though I’m speaking, I know God is talking directly to their hearts. I just go with it.
These kids don’t go to church, so we bring church to them. And Uth church is raw and organic. It is happening naturally, foundational on Jesus and relationships. Ministering to teenagers in my living room is giving me insight into how the church was first built, which is helping understand how a church today should be planted.
My hoodies are learning about Jesus, and I’m learning about His church–all from the comfort of my living room!
I have always considered myself a kids person. My entire life I have loved kids, and 10 years in ministry serVing kids and families has proven to be the calling that sticks, no matter how hard I try and fight it.
As my own kids have grown older, my territory has been enlarged, growing my own passion for teenagers. Recently I attended a Jesus Culture concert where we cried out to God SHOW ME YOUR HEART…SHOW ME YOUR WAYS…SHOW ME YOUR GLORY. Yes, that is what I needed…I knew God’s heart, but I needed HIS ways so He could be glorified.
Right now I am with 9,000 teenagers seeking after God, 15 from my own student group. During worship I was surrounded in a sea of vulnerability, hands raised, voices shouting to,the LORD and God showed me clearly, I barely have a glimpse of God’s heart for this upcoming, lost generation.
My heart must break even more than it has this weekend for these kids who are consumed with self in order for me to even begin to understand His ways.
No matter what I have known about kids, God has shown me his deep, compassionate love for a generation who is under more of the enemies arsenal than ever.
Thank you God for showing me a glimpse of your heart!