“I don’t want to sound cynical, because (as a member of the clergy) I love what I do. Only it’s not what I expected. I thought I would spend hours in a leather chair, reading books, writing sermons, keeping appointments with souls who sought my counsel…I thought I would pray more. Instead, I answer telephone calls, oversee budgets, pay bills, proofread bulletins, and take the church cat to the vet.” -Barbara Brown Taylor
“Everybody wants to change the world…nobody wants to do the dishes.” -Shane Claiborne
If you are like me, when I first started out in ministry I had all these lofty ideas about changing the world. You’ve read the Bible, you’ve heard the stories and you’ve signed on for this great thing called ministry. But somewhere along the way, you realized that it is very different than what you expected. You’ve been inspired, but now you’ve hit reality. And the life and calling you thought you’d signed on for are very different than the one you actually have.
This is all about practical ministry stuff for other preachers and ministers and local church volunteers. I’d wanted to write down somewhere some of the stuff that I’ve learned and am learning, and I’d also like to try and pass it on to other people who are serving in ministry. Each week I spend writing a sermon, planning a series, doing funerals, trying to get out in the community, visiting people in the hospital or prison, dealing with criticism, learning to play and enjoy my family with proper boundaries between Church and home…all of these things I still consistently struggle with. And because I’m relatively young and new at this whole ministry experience, I have not yet forgotten what I did not know.
Because of luck of the draw, I’ve been blessed with great mentors and friendships with people who are brilliant leaders, pastors, thinkers and preachers. I’ve been blessed to work at two large and healthy churches that care about the right things, and have had regular access to tremendous resources and people who have taught me more than I could have ever learned any other way. This is an attempt to try and collect ministerial wisdom from a variety of sources, and pass on some of these pieces of wisdom that I have learned, and am in the process of learning, to my friends in ministry in other places in the world.
This blog series will try and cover everything from how to plan a sermon series to how to do a funeral. Don’t think I’m trying to say I’ve got ministry figured out, but I do know some people that are a lot further on this journey and have been helpful to me. I plan to have several different video interviews on here with people who I’ve learned a lot from, like Rick Atchley and Jeff Childers, to Chris Seidman & Randy Harris and a local funeral director (they’re not the same person) as well as a local hospital chaplain, a local prison chaplain and several others.
The story of Scripture actually starts off with God breathing into Adam and Even his breath, his Spirit. The word inspire actually means to to be infused with the spirit or breath. Which is interesting, because the Creation story is of God breathing his life into the earthy, ordinary ground beneath us, and it becomes something else. It becomes us.
I think that God has been doing that ever since. He meets us in the ordinary and it becomes something more. The most inspirational thing of all is to find God in the ordinary reality of actual men and women that we serve and minister with.
That’s what this series is about.
If there is a particular aspect of ministry that you would like for us (myself or another minister) to write about, you can email a request at Jonathan@Stormented .com Chances are if you have a question, there are other ministers and church volunteers that are asking the same one. We hope that this can be a valuable resource for people who are serving in ministry in other places in the country and world. May God bless us as we serve in his Kingdom.
Grace and Peace,