Wednesday, July 07, 2010

A Message For Those Waiting By the Phone

We all want to stand out. We all want to be known for something. We all want to be remembered when we die.

Perhaps that's why tattoos are so popular.

It's one of the main questions that people ask at the end of their lives. Did I make an impact? Will I be remembered? Did my life count for something?

Ministers happen to ask these questions as well. I don't think it matters what size church you find yourself in. You ask certain questions.

Am I making an impact on people's lives?
Would they even miss me if I were no longer at this church?
Why aren't we growing like we should?
We're growing in numbers, but is anyone looking more like Christ?

Perhaps our Children's Minister search process is prompting these questions right now. Currently, there are about at least 10 Churches of Christ larger than Littleton looking for Children's Ministers. However, there are very few candidates out there. You might say, "Good job security!" And you'd be right!

As I've reflected on this situation, I think there are several reasons why this is the case.
1) Most of the Children's Ministry degrees at our universities are quite new.
2) Many Children's Ministers were inside hires who were members before they were ministers. (They chose to attend the church before they worked there)
3) Many Children's Ministers' spouses make more than they do.
4) Many Children's Ministers' are there for the kids rather than waiting on the next big church to call.

Now, several of these items look like criticisms of ministers in other areas of church ministry. And unfortunately, too often they are. While many ministers find great satisfaction in the church they currently serve, there are also many ministers who are positioning themselves (by the phone) for the next phone call from the next big church.

Which is sad. If all you do in a church is preach sermons in order to be heard well by congregations that might be listening in, you shouldn't consider yourself a preacher. The point is not to climb the ladder. The point is to serve God's people. Ultimately, it's not about you. It's about God. But we often mistake the main character in our stories anyway.

Maybe we can learn something from our Children's Ministers. They aren't up front all of the time. They don't get the "atta boys" and "atta girls" that some of us in the more public roles receive. They go about their business loving kids and making an eternal impact.

It's easy to spend your time playing "Pity Party." It's a party that not that much fun and the food's not that good anyway.

So, hear this as an encouragement fellow ministers. You're making an impact. The size of your pulpit has nothing to do with God's power at work within you.

Jesus said, "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." But perhaps as ministers we need to hear this word, "Unless you become like Children's Ministers, you will never find joy in your ministry."

Discharge the duties of your ministry and you can be assured that you are making an impact. Serve your people well and you can be assured they will miss you if God ever calls you elsewhere. Lead people in the way of Christ with your teaching and example

There's always going to be a bigger church you can wait on (unless you're Joel Osteen). There will never be a more important group of people to minister to than the people God has put in your church!