God never changes. As I sit in church today I am reminded of that wonderful truth. Even when our world is chaotic and always moving, we have an anchor. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Ministry is always changing. Sometimes it's good and other times it's not so good. Today I am thinking about how I respond to the times where it is not so good.
Ministry can change for us even when we don’t want it to. We have expectations of what we want in our church and ministry. When those are crushed it can be overwhelming and debilitating. It can alter the vision we had for our lives if we let it. Death, sickness, loss, hurt, offense. All those things can unexpectedly come in and change our circumstances and even our hearts.
Through an ever changing world how do we navigate through ministry and make it thrive?
A very wise man once said to my husband, on our very first Sunday at our very first vocational church, to always “keep the main thing the main thing”. I will never forget that even though sometimes I lose site of it. Our Pastor challenged us with those words. And 18 years later I still hear him saying them.
This past Sunday I started looking around at the empty seats. I am tired. Sickness hit our house the last month and all our efforts to grow our church seem to be overwhelming and impossible to me right now. I had such passion last month but when sickness came in it shifted my vision. I am physically tired and mentally stressed.
So here I sit in church. When I see the empty seats I start to get frustrated. I begin to pray and worship.
“Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, My God, that is who you are.You are here Touching every heart I worship you, I worship you. You are here, healing every heart. I worship you, I worship you .You are here, turning lives around. I worship you“
My prayer turns to what it has always been for our church. Send us the hurting. Send us people who we can care for and love. My eyes started to focus on the empty seats. But as I began to worship a God who never changes, I go back to the main thing.
There are things you can’t control. Things like death, sickness, loss, hurt, offense. The God that we serve, who called us, is not taken by surprise by any of them. Don’t let the storm take your eyes off an unchanging God.
Keeping the main thing the main thing - gives us a focus that is unstoppable. It doesn't matter what is happening around us. The changes of life and unforeseen challenges don't stop us running the race with force.
There are so many things to focus on. Uncertainty, hurt feelings, fear of the unknown, the people who offend you, and so much more. For me, when those things pull for my attention, I am not looking to God and trusting Him. I am placing those things above him.
God has called me to ministry. And I am passionate about it. But that can never be above him. Keep the main thing the main thing. God is always the center of ministry. He speaks to us. He calls us. He has dreams for us. When the chaos comes in it attacks our ministry.
Even when ministry is changing our God never does.
What is he speaking to you lately? What has he called you to? What is your vision? When we take our eyes off of that, we tend to forget it. We focus on the craziness that is thrown at us and we don't look to an unchanging God. Keep the main thing the main thing.
What is he saying to you today?