November 26, 2018
I had been in ministry for about 18 months when I came to a startling revelation—I didn’t know what I was doing. Looking back, I can’t believe it took me that long to realize my ineptitude. But as startled as I was about this revelation, my shock paled in comparison to that of my senior pastor when I verbalized this epiphany in a staff meeting.
“I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing around here,” I blurted out. Looking back, I should have chosen my words more wisely (obviously!). It would have been easier on my pastor’s aging heart, and it might have lessened the tongue-lashing and horrified looks I received.
Specifically, my confusion was over the lack of real and significant life change I was seeing in the church-at-large as a result of our ministry efforts. Don’t get me wrong; we were working really hard. I just couldn’t see any direct correlation between effort and life-change.
From my green and untested perspective, there seemed to be a substantial disconnect between the biblical teaching people received on Sundays and Wednesdays and the day-to-day impact that teaching was having on the community.
Sometime I still wonder that same thing. Almost 25 years later and I still wonder if, for all of our activity, for all of my, “hard work,” are we really making a difference in the world. Then I’m reminded that, as much as it pains me to say it, that the outcomes are not up to me. I can’t make anyone, except myself, do anything. Maybe the key isn’t working harder but resting more in the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m not talking about laziness but trust. Maybe part of the answer is coming to realize that life-change is not accomplished via programs and business but through the power of the Holy Spirit working in people’s lives.