Time to Get Real
Can we get real for a moment? For those of you who work in ministry fields, this will not come as a surprise to you. For those of you on the outside, this may be more information that you wanted to know. Either way, I hope and pray that this might spur some thought or discussion that would help us all to be more aware of one another and the challenges we face.
Ministry work is REAL hard. Even if God audibly called you into your current role, that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing. Whether you provide housing for the homeless, food for the hungry, or hope for the hopeless, it’s tough work. Most transactions between you and those you serve result in little or no gratitude--or worse yet, complaints about what you have provided.
Ministry work is REAL cheap (and expensive). The pay for most ministry workers is far below the normal range compared to equivalent jobs within the secular workforce. Some don’t get payed at all. Conversely, the work we are trying to do through providing housing, furniture, education, food, etc., is very expensive. Staying true to a Christian mission usually disqualifies ministries from grants or governmental assistance.
Ministry work is REAL lonely. You can be constantly surrounded by people and still feel as though you stand alone. For whatever reason, we aren’t very good at asking for help or support when times get tough. I suppose we worry about appearances or perceptions (lack of faith, lack of hope, and lack of trust in the Lord) and so we keep silent.
Ministry work is REAL territorial. Unfortunately, churches and ministry groups don’t have a great track record of playing well together. My food pantry is better than your food pantry. My VBS is better than your VBS. For all the king of the hill “games” we have played over the last few decades, there is finally a new wind starting to blow across the landscape. For the first time in 10+ years, I am seeing hope for cross-collaboration and ministries beginning to work together as the unified Body of Christ. Pray this trend continues and grows!
Ministry work is REAL dangerous. Do you want to live in comfort and peace? Don’t work in ministry! The attacks (both internal and external) are ongoing. You will face condemnation and criticism from fellow Christians thinking you missed the mark. You will be discouraged and disheartened from those on the outside wondering why your way of doing things is even necessary. You family will face any number of challenges and prying eyes will look to see what you are doing wrong.
Ministry work is REAL demanding. Poverty will not be ending any time soon. The work will never end and the demands will never let up. There is no “pinnacle of success” to achieve. It’s awesome that you were able to report great successes in 2016, but the clients keep coming in 2017, 18, 19. . .
Ministry work is REAL humbling. The deeper I get, the more my personal flaws are revealed. Instead of seeing only the underbelly of our community, I see a reflection of characteristics and traits that are ingrained in me that need to be rooted out.
Ministry work is REAL necessary. While the above may seem like a laundry list of complaints, they aren’t really. These are observations and truths about what we face day in and day out. I bring them up because there are those who think working for a ministry must be “easy”. It’s anything but easy. But it certainly is important. There are projects and people groups that are only being served through ministry work(ers). Governments are top heavy and limited in reach and effectiveness. Ministries don’t have all the answers, but Christ centered, slimmer, smaller organizations can reach into places where big brother can’t go.
Ministries REALLY need your help. If you can help support financially, please do. If you can give of your time, we need you. If you can pray, bring it on! If you can be a friend, shoulder, ear or any other support structure, make yourself available.
Thanks for getting real with me.