Ministry can be a roller coaster, except you rarely get off the ride. It can also feel like day trading at times. Never knowing what swing is about to take place. It is black holes and bright lights, but as Rust Cole movingly reminded us, “If you ask me, the light is winning.”
Black holes of church ministry: criticism, relational tension, mistakes, the ongoing pressure of limited or depleting resources, Monday morning blank screen syndrome, the grind of “3 steps forward, 2 steps back” and sometimes even 2 forward 5 back, the uninvolved critic who is technically correct. The person who makes it unnecessarily personal. Doubt, self doubt, exhaustion, the day you hear so much pain you struggle to keep each person’s story straight. When dear friends die. The list goes on and on. Its all a black hole.
The Bright lights: Everyday people discovering God@work in their life, the person who says, “I feel welcome in this church,” a hard working team of staff and volunteers. God showing up in surprising ways. (Does He ever show up in predictable ways? I think not.) The light going on for an unbeliever, or a dormant long term church person. Watching an everyday person flourish and shine in leadership, seeing unexpected people pastoring everyday people, feeling the church wide excitement of celebration when someone is baptized, getting calls and emails from people saying, “Whatever you need, I’m in.” Getting an unexpected check in the offering. The privilege of serve God in this way. Seeing reception up close and personal, watching a group of Kenyans worship as if their life depended on it, being saved from my sins and my self absorbed ways. Breathing air, having the mental capacity to get out of bed. Taking a shower and eating as much as I want which is more than I can say for the majority of this world. These and many more are the bright lights.
Noticing the bright lights and not getting sucked into the black hole is actual ministry work. A black hole’s gravitational force is strong and relentless. Its not about ignoring real and debilitating problems, its about noticing the wonder of God@work in our church.
Surely the beginning of this noticing starts with the wonder of God@work in our own lives.
Black holes have sucked us in and will surely do so again, but our role as leader is to keep people noticing and celebrating the bright lights. Then, inviting us all to worship of the Light Bearer in wonder and abandonment.
Matt. 4:16 the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”
My prayer for you today: That you’ll notice the bright lights and give thanks to the Creator of Light.