In front of me are the first two issues of a new journal. The
journal is entitled "Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care."
One of the first articles I read was by Keith Meyer (Church of the
Open Door, Maple Grove, Minnesota). Meyer wrote a few paragraphs that I
found nourishing and encouraging. For example:
I now teach pastors that
formation is essential because your life is your ministry and your
ministry is your life. It is not just a prerequisite for ministry or a
condition for ministry or a line on your resume or on a job description
calling for character. In my ministry to pastors and leaders at our
church this is a great leveler between clergy and laity. Although
giftings, office, and call are important, they are not as important as
the authority of your life and its transformational power. (p. 226)
I read this quote once and then read it again. I highlighted it in yellow and came back to it once again. My life is my ministry and my ministry is my life. I am called to live out of my own authentic life in Christ. This speaks volumes as to who I am called to be before Christ and the world.
I am not called to live a transformed life because it looks good on my resume or because it makes a difference in the quality of my preaching/teaching. I am not interested in spiritual transformation because this seems to be the thing to do if I am going to stay current. The point of a transformed life is not to get me somewhere in my work with a church.
The reality? Every man and woman in Christ is called to live out of an authentic life in Christ. This life is my ministry. My ministry is my life. This morning as you are at home with your family, your ministry is already happening. As you go to work, your ministry is already being lived out. Your ministry is happening wherever and whenever you live and are present in another’s life.
Ministry does not begin with an assignment at church. It does not begin when you take on a program or a "ministry" at church. Ministry does not begin when you have an office in your church building or when you keep office hours. Ministry does not begin when you have a church leadership role or even some kind of authority that seems to go with your "ministry." Ministry does not begin when you are the center of attention at church.
Some people who talk about authority in the church, in reality, have such little true authority because of the massive gap between the reality of their own lives and what they want to project before others. Meyer is correct. The authority of one’s own life and its transformational power are critical.
The good news?
The fulfillment that one finds in such ministry is not grounded in success, statistics, visibility, or some stroke of the ego. The real fulfillment of such ministry is in finding satisfaction in God alone.
What do you think? What difference might such a perspective make in various churches?