It was my turn to lead our all staff chapel time at Hopevale Church this past Wednesday, so I had to figure out what I thought God wanted me to share with our team. I was reading Bill Hybels’ book AXIOM in preparation for leading my Next Gen team Tuesday and came across a chapter called We Need All of Us. For some reason that chapter stuck out… not the content of the actual chapter (it was good… don’t get me wrong) but the concept… the idea that ALL of us on staff play a crucial role. So here is what I shared. If you are on a staff at a church (no matter in what capacity) my hope is that this will be as encouraging to you as it was to me as I put it together (I probably got as much or more out of this putting it together than those I shared it with did :-) )
1. WHAT YOU DO AT YOUR CHURCH IS IMPORTANT
No matter what role you find yourself in at the church you work at… whether you are the senior/lead pastor, youth/student pastor, administrative assistant, a receptionist, or a part time building cleaner… you have a significant and important role in accomplishing the mission of the local church where you serve.
Hopevale Church’s mission is to become “A community of grace and truth inviting people to know and follow Jesus.” So I reminded our staff that everyone in that room… and even those who were not but served in some capacity… they all play a vital, crucial, important role in accomplishing that mission.
In 1 Cor. 12 we find these words (paraphrased): “you are the body of Christ… and each one of you is a part of it… no part can say “I don’t need you.”
It also says that “God has arranged the parts… as HE wants them to be.”
Three months into my first ministry I experienced my first disappointment in ministry… and I almost threw in the towel. I was a middle school pastor at a small Baptist church in Indiana, and was beaming with potential and excitement. I had graduated from college earlier that year and couldn’t believe that I was 1) working at a church (my dream job) and 2) that I was pulling down a paycheck for it. (you know… making the big bucks ;-) #highroller #thatministrylife #sarcasm) I thought ministry was always going to be awesome, that people would always obey the Bible, and that teenagers would think that I was cool because I was their youth pastor (boy… do you learn the truth the hard way). I planned an experiential prayer night for my group and thought that it was going to be well received and that they would love it. THEY HATED IT! I cried. I yelled (in my apartment to myself). I almost quit. I was full of self doubt and self loathing… and I believed that maybe I was not supposed to do this or supposed to be a pastor. That is why I find these words in 1 Cor. 12 so encouraging. Every leader in the church goes through these thoughts: “What if people find out I am a fraud?” “What if I really don’t know what I am doing?” “What if I make mistakes?” We all have insecurities as leaders. And if there is someone who reads this and says “I’ve never thought that, ever!” Then they are completely full of themselves and arrogant (and we all know what happens to the prideful… TIMBERRRRR!!!!!) We all go through these seasons. Isn’t it awesome to know that it isn’t US that has placed us where we are… but it is GOD that has put us exactly where HE wants us to be?
WHAT YOU DO IS IMPORTANT!!! WE NEED ALL OF YOU!
2. WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST IS MORE IMPORTANT
It is easy, in ministry, to elevate our WORK for God over our WORSHIP of God.
No story illustrates this reality as well as our two friends MARY and MARTHA… and what took place in their home when Jesus showed up. MARTHA got to WORK… MARY got to WORSHIP.
Martha prioritized her WORK over her WORSHIP… and Jesus told her flat out “You are worried about many things (WORK… MINISTRY)… but only ONE THING is necessary in this moment (WORSHIP). Mary has chosen that and it will not be taken from her.”
Jesus wanted to help Martha reprioritize her life. He was not saying that her work wasn’t important. He was showing her that WORK shouldn’t be priority over WORSHIP.
A few years back I got this all wrong. I was a ministry-a-holic (still can be from time to time). Everything in my life was ministry… to the detriment of everything else… even my relationship with Christ. I wasn’t praying (unless it was related to ministry), I wasn’t reading my Bible or any type of devotional material (unless it was related to ministry)… my parenting suffered… my being a husband suffered… and wouldn’t you know it… my ministry suffered. (I had no idea that was happening, btw…) Someone pointed this out in my life… and it wasn’t pretty at the time, but eventually I came to the realization that I was on the edge of burning out and it was mostly because I had prioritized WORK over WORSHIP.
I am learning (haven’t learned fully… because I still run back to this) that WHO I am in CHRIST is more important than what i DO for Christ. MY PRIORITY NEEDS TO BE WORSHIP.
OUR PRIORITY NEEDS TO BE WORSHIP.
Your church not only needs all of you (everyone that works together)… but needs ALL of YOU (INDIVIDUALLY… especially you as a worshipper.)
The worst thing you could offer the church is your WORK without your WORSHIP.
3. LET WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR CHURCH FLOW FROM WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST!
It’s that simple.