It’s September. I don’t know about you, but I felt like the summer was way too short. Now we are back into full ministry….recruiting volunteers, planning themes/lessons, inviting and lining up speakers to share their talents, and making the list of all of the supplies that you need to get started. Whew, I’m feeling so overwhelmed already…. And then what? You glance at your phone and happen to notice that there are 15 messages to return, your inbox is filling up with emails to answer from parents inquiring about sacraments, requirements, and “when can I register my children?” You have people knocking on your door wanting to visit with you and never mind that stack of papers on your desk that you’ve been trying to get to all summer.
How on earth did ministry get so complicated? Didn’t you sign up for ministry because you have a dynamic gift of sharing your faith with love, joy and enthusiasm? YES! So, what are you going to do? Are you going to plow through the to-do list with your head down and the pedal to the metal or is it time to approach things differently this time around?
Take a walk with me for a second, do you remember what the anticipation must have been like for the Three Kings following a star and searching for a King on a dark, cold, winter night? They had heard of the Messiah, they sort of knew where to go, they weren’t sure what they were going to find when they got there, but they knew they had to go and see for themselves. What did they find there? Jesus. He wasn’t what they expected, but the gift of Jesus far exceeded their expectations. Now, imagine that each person approaching the church for ministry and faith formation classes is one of the three kings. They have heard of Jesus, kind of knew where to go, weren’t sure what they were going to find, wanted to see for themselves, and low and behold they found YOU. You are the face of Christ, in the flesh, listening to them, speaking to them and guiding them on their faith journey.
Now, are you ready to tackle that never ending “to-do” list or would you like to open all of the presents under the Christmas tree?
3 tips for Approaching Ministry Tasks Like It’s Christmas Morning:
- You are wrapped with bright red shiny paper and a pretty gold bow!
- You, a minister of the church, are a gift to others when you share God’s love. Be Christ to them. Serve with a willing heart, knowing you are God’s gift. Will they see Christ in you?
- Look how many gifts are under the Christmas tree!
- Each gift is wrapped, different sizes, various wrapping, some are heavy, some are light….There’s no telling what is inside but each are waiting to be opened. And once the contents are revealed, you will find a child of God who is hungering to know God’s love and mercy.
- Each interaction with each person is a blessing and a gift to you from your Father – Do you see Christ in them? He’s there.
- *MINISTRY HACK*: Put a small mirror like this one (can also be purchased at Hobby Lobby) near your phone. Before you answer, take a quick peek at yourself….are you smiling? If you are….GREAT! If you’re not, go ahead and smile. Now you’re ready to answer the phone and be totally present to whoever is on the other end.
- Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
- Approach each encounter with gratitude – it’s an incredible honor and privilege to serve in ministry. Take care of this honor by treating everyone with utmost dignity and respect. God’s image is at the very core of every one of his children. The angry parent, the shy and timid teen, the single mom, the happy couple, they all are made in the image and likeness of God.
Fr. Henri J. Nouwen, said that “Ministry is, first of all, receiving God’s blessing from those to who we minister. What is this blessing? It is a glimpse of the face of God.” My prayer for you is to do your best to care for people, minister to people and be present to people the way Jesus did. His ways were so simple, they were profound. He saw people who nobody else saw and they were blessed with seeing the face of God.
So, the next time the phone rings or the next time someone wants to see you, be God’s gift to them and have fun opening your presents!
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