Encouragement for Lay Ministry

 

As someone who has served for  many years in the position of lay pastor I want to share an encouraging word to you who serve  whether as pastors, worship leaders or unpaid secretaries, accountants, education directors or musicians. If you sometimes feel unappreciated, less qualified or unnecessary take a deep breath and consider a few short points today.

A) Being a lay minister is a not a lower calling

and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tent makers by trade. 1 Corinthians 18:3

In the first century the most famous example of lay ministry may be the apostle Paul. While for a part of his ministry he was supported by the churches he served, he spent a great deal of his time working with his own hands to provide for his needs. While that seems pretty distant to us think of Pastor Rick Warren who serves at Saddleback church without a salary.  In a strange sort of way Pastor Rick is also a fellow lay minister. We are neither higher nor lower than any other servant in God’s church but we are certainly different!

B) Being a lay minister gives us a unique perspective

The term laity came from a Greek root meaning “Of the people” Being of the people is exactly what Jesus was for most of His life. When He began to preach in Nazareth His neighbors were shocked!

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.  And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”  And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them Mark 6:3-6

Being of the people Jesus knows and understands what we are going through. He can sympathize with our struggles in a way He could not have from the throne in heaven. In that same manner you are put in a privileged position among people with an opportunity that a paid full time minister will never have. Rather than moping over where you work realize that where you work is your Nazareth. Some people will not appreciate what God has called you to do, but the ones whom you reach for Jesus Christ can not be reached by anyone else!

There’s lots more to share so stay tuned for the next points in my next post. I’d write more today but I gotta go to work!!!P1020007

God’s Way in the Wilderness

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:19

Wilderness:   a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings    Merriam Webster
    Have you some areas in your own life that might fit this definition? Is there some location spiritually in your world that you would call uncultivated: an area no one has taken the time to prepare for growth?
    Is there some place that is uninhabited: no one has ever gone and seen the potential that is locked inside?
God is a specialist in exactly those areas we have abandoned. God is concerned about places in our heart that we have forgotten. God is claiming for his own the things we have given up on and is saying today,
“I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wilderness.”
Let’s look briefly at someone in the Bible who was just like us. His name was Elijah.
 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”  Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 1 Kings 19:4-5 
Elijah had given up. Elijah had decided that his life no longer made any difference. Elijah felt that he had given his best, but it wasn’t enough. The good news for Elijah and for us is that God didn’t agree! God tenderly comes through the presence of His angel and stands by our sides when we are sleeping. God tracks us down into the most remote regions of our wildernesses. God wakes us up by a gentle touch on our shoulder and the first thing we discover is the wonderful aroma of fresh bread which He has made with His own hands. We find a cup of cold water there waiting, just for us to drink.
Our plan has been to quit. God’s plan has been to restore! Our plan has been028 (1)
 to resign. God’s plan has been to re-assign.
Our plan has been to be alone. God’s plan has been to send us to new people. Our plan has been to retire. God’s plan is to put us to work!
When our travel plans end in the wilderness – He resets our GPS for the mountain of God!
He will  make a way,
Give us new strength,
Bring us to the mountain
When God makes the way He will be with us for every step of our journey!