Ministry: a word that can be traced back to the Greek word “douleuo”, which means “to serve as a slave”.
Ugh. How awful. After all, slaves are pretty much the lowest of the low, aren’t they?
As children of God, we all know we are called to serve God and to follow Jesus’ example in ministering others. Sounds straightforward enough, right?
However, it’s been proven – whether you are new to ministry, or if you’re a church-ministry veteran (so to speak); that you will, at some point, feel pretty close to the true definition of a “slave”.
During our prayer meeting last Sunday, 4th November 2018, our friend Try Sulysto explained that in his ten years of church ministry (and in many different areas at that), he found that the most common issues that we come across in our ministries are:
• Spiritual drought
• “Heartburn”, ie. falling victim to others gossiping about you behind your back, being betrayed or treated unfairly by others
• Stressed/Burned out/Being overwhelmed by all the different responsibilities and meetings you need to take care of.
So how can we continue to serve God and others without feeling lost or burned out? How can we overcome these issues to excel and succeed in our ministries?
Where to start:
1. Find something that you enjoy, or that you’re good at, for your chosen area of ministry. For example, if you’re an outgoing person who enjoys being around others, perhaps you might try being an usher; or if you can play an instrument, you may want to join the worship team.
2. Explore other options
See if there are other things God wants you to do, you can improve yourself or be useful in.
3. Do it with love. It is easier to fall into that trap of self-pity and “why-do-I-even-bother” attitude when you do not have love for God, and love for others. When you serve with God’s love, no task is too hard or too menial to complete.
Pray, ask God to give you that heart. Fill up your “tank” by going to daily mass, and reading God’s Word everyday. Remember that you cannot help others when you are also bleeding.
Once you have found your areas of ministries to focus on, you will need to keep these in mind to deliver a successful ministry:
1. COMMUNITY/HOME BASE
It’s important to have a community or a support group because these people are the ones who will not only be able to pull you back up when you are down or when you’re in the midst of your spiritual drought, but they will also keep you grounded and remind you when you begin to stray.
If you’ve been invited to minister in another church community, you are more than welcome to help out, but make sure to prioritise the ministries in your home base.
Commitment means time management, and sacrificing your personal time for your ministry. But it also means committing to continually improve your skills, if applicable, in your chosen area of ministry: eg. music, design, etc.
We need to be humble enough to know when we need to improve, and when we need to ask for help. We also need humility to be able to obey and follow instructions from those with authority within the church, or those who are more senior than us in our ministry.
Dealing with other people is not always pleasant, but with humility you will be able to put others first before your own feelings.
Just like other aspects in life, effective communication is important to avoid misunderstandings. Don’t give excuses, or beat around the bush if you are unable to commit to a particular task. Ask for help, or just be open and say no. Ambiguity will only lead to confusion and potential disappointments.
5. FIND A HOBBY
Take time for your hobbies, find something that helps you relax and unwind in between all the responsibilities involved in your respective ministries. When you are rested, when you look after yourself, you are able to give more in your ministries.
Remember: ministry is not just a calling; it should be our life’s purpose. Start small, Jesus said even faith that is only as small as a mustard seed is enough to move mountains.
And if you ever feel like you’re insignificant, or your task is not important enough, remember that it is not about how great you are, it’s about how great OUR GOD is. -(Try Sulysto, summarised by CMN)-