Ministry is about less. Somehow in a year I’ve turned ministry into processes, into the execution of my skills, into delightful experiences. None of that is wrong. Without my talents and methods I would be useless. But ministry is not about these additives. Ministry is about people.
It seems so obvious. I have found this truth multiple times. Then I bury it beneath the rubble of my profound methodology, my ingenious hypotheses, my selfless preoccupation with myself. Each time I turn around and so “Oh yeah, I need to be ministering TO others.” A friend recently reminded me that “We are filled up to be poured out.” As I have been staring my future down I wonder why I commit to that admittedly daunting path of ministry.
And then I re-engage in community. My processes crack against the spirit of my friends and family and the fault-line is real discipleship. Ministry is the meeting of people and process and God the molten lava that underlies and causes that powerful unity.
How can we live focusing primarily on people? How do we avoid wrapping ourselves in methods at the sake of relationship?
I’m no expert, but I’ve found a few mental checks keep me lined up with God’s will here:
1) Keep people on your mind and be praying for them. It’s easy to focus on the next task, your objective. Write down names on post-it notes and every time you see that note, pray for the person. When you hop on Facebook, choose the top two or three people and say a 5-second prayer.
2) Keep in touch with people. It’s easy to forget people are primary when our interactions are limited. Reach out and let someone share a story. Do it as often as you can- which might be different for you than me.
People’s worth will lead you to engagement in and of itself- just give people an opportunity to renew your hearts over and over again.