Last night’s worship at Kildonan with the PYC was truly awesome. We trusted in God, and the Spirit was present – so great. I asked people to consider the question: “who are you?” I got them to think about how they would answer the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and whether their answer is different now than when they were 5 years old. We talked about how we never really find questions about personal goals in the Bible. Instead we find that God calls people to do things (often, that they don’t want to do or wouldn’t have thought about doing) and then stands by them and supports them in carrying them out. The question isn’t who do you want to be, its who does God want me to be, what does God want me to do.
I was thinking about all of this in the car on the way there, and started to think about some of the things I would like to do vs. what God is asking me to do. It occurred to me that my approach to life and ministry has often been one where I facilitate and connect people to each other so they can work together to accomplish God’s work. Its only more recently that I have tried to bring my own stuff to the table. Even that “stuff” is often borrowed from somewhere else.
I realized that I think this is what ministry is. Collaboration and Conversation. Even in preaching, I’m not really trying to tell them what I want to tell them, I am trying to put people in conversation with God, the Bible, the tradition, one another. Its funny how thinking this through brought me back to some pretty traditional ideas of who the minister is. Priest: one who intercedes on behalf of the people to God. Prophet: one who speaks for God to the people. Pastor: one who cares for the people, sometimes individually, but more often as a group. What we do in ministry is facilitation: As priest we speak for the people to God, as prophet, we speak for God to the people. As Pastor, we ensure that people are cared for. If we think about a shepherd, this is done primarily through leadership, rather than spoon-feeding. We can’t tend every sheep individually, but we can lead the whole flock to a source of water. This is facilitation/leadership and trusting that the flock will in a lot of ways take care of itself.
Ministry is so amazing. Its hard to pin down sometimes. Sometimes I feel like its the most creative job in the world – other times the most mundane. Sometimes its insanely stressfull, other times so peaceful. What a joy!