Many thoughts on this…
This summer, as I am interning at CBC, I am doing a lot of little things. Going to meetings. Making PowerPoint slides. Supervising games. Hanging out with students. Lots of little things- but little things can be oh, so important. The question is, when and how do they matter?
In all this stuff, I am building. Building up the Student Ministry. Building up my own experiences in my life. Building up students. Planting and watering seeds. Laying down boards and putting in nails. Each little bit matters. Like Paul says, “you are God’s field, God’s building”. If I were a farmer, and I focused on just one row of plants and made sure that one row was well planted, well watered, well tended—- well, that would be okay, but what about the other 95% of my field? Likewise, in building a house, I could make sure that I make a perfect wall, all the boards aligned neatly, each nail where it should be. Unfortunately, if I only cared about one wall, I wouldn’t be building a house, I’d be building a… wall. And likewise, in ministry, we can’t just do one thing well. Now let me explain. I don’t mean that if you are going into ministry, you have to work with preschoolers and middle schoolers and young adults and the elderly and you have to run the food ministry and the Bible clubs ministry and the worship ministry and you have to be on top of your prayers and your service and your Bible study and……… you don’t do everything. You can’t do everything. God has assigned each of us an area of service, of work. However, he rarely will give us one row, one wall. And rarely will we only have the responsibility of planting the seeds, or only having to buy the nails. In ministry, you are over a few fields and a few buildings over your life. Now, if you’re smart, you’ll be like Moses and follow his father-in-law’s advice— share the load! Jesus told us to pray to the Father for more workers- and we should! We can’t do everything. However, we will do alot. And it’s a little overwhelming sometimes. I’m not in charge of that much in this internship, but helping plan our retreat and working with students on other stuff, it’s amazing how MUCH stuff has to get figured out. Details. Bits and pieces. Odds and ends. But it all has to come together, we all have to do our jobs so that the building is standing strong and the field is thriving.
And in ministry, it’s sometimes a little annoying how little you actually can do. Now, normally during the summer I’ve worked at Camp Good News at Forest Glen in Huntsville, TX- this summer God has me here, but sometimes I wish I were back there (for different reasons). And one nice thing about camp ministry compared to church ministry is that you’re dealing with a microcosm compared to a macrocosm, a week compared to four years, a small group compared to hundreds of students. At camp, you can have campers come in, hear God’s Word, be encouraged, grow, and have a transformation by Friday. You get to see it all happen- it’s like putting coal under great pressure- you see diamonds emerge. God is mightily at work at camp, for many reasons, but especially because it’s directed towards Him- kids get to be away from family, friends, TV, games, the internet, the world. Here in church ministry, we work in the everyday, the normal, the regular world. We have students for a few hours per week, and each time once they go home, they’re back in the world again (not that they’re “out” of the world at church- it just means that they get a superconcentrated focus on Him while they’re at church… hopefully.)
So what’s hard is that we can really do so little. I go see movies, have lunch, have conversations, talk on Facebook chat, and do other stuff with a bunch of middle school and high school students- but will it matter in the end? It would be nice if I could change a student’s life through a deep conversation- but usually it doesn’t happen. Instead, what I must aim for is building a relationship with them. And I must be careful what materials I use. I can build a relationship in which they look highly upon me and I get the glory. I can build a relationship that tears us both down with bad stuff. I can build a relationship directed to idols or things that don’t last. Or I can build a relationship directed towards God.
Unfortunately, it’s an ongoing thing. I have to be careful and wise in how I build each relationship and spend each moment of hanging out. I’m laying boards and watering seeds- but are they the right boards and the right seeds? Time will only tell. And that is why we need faithful pastors and leaders that will continually build on students, help them grow, be faithful and see them through the middle school/high school/college years. But we can’t do it so we can say “Look at Johnny- he’s grown so much because of me!” Instead, we must humbly thank God for our chance to participate in Johnny’s growth, and prayer that God will continue to send people Johnny’s way to help him grow more and more. We have to do a lot of letting go in ministry, because God is constantly moving people in and out of our area. But that doesn’t mean we stop serving. We keep working where we are called—- and God does the rest… : )
Alot of thoughts. Even more… But I’ll stop here. And post the Scripture that influenced these thoughts.
1 Corinthians 3
1Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?
5What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
16Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.
18Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a]; 20and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”[b] 21So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas[c] or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.