Welcome to the ministry!
When my husband and I first stepped into full time ministry, we were working in a children’s home. We became full time parents to children who had been abused or neglected and found themselves in the foster care system.
I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea of what being in ‘ministry’ felt like. I honestly thought the skies would part and somehow all of my ‘temptations’ and ‘problems’ would just ‘go away.’ After all, pastors, missionaries, deacons – they’re all perfect, right? Isn’t that what being in a ministry positions means – that you suddenly become worthy of such a title?
Oh, how much I had to learn! Just because we stepped out in faith and took on a ministry position did not mean all our temptations or problems just fly away. In fact, there were more problems! We quickly found that working in ministry means working with people. And people are messy!
However, one of the hardest lessons to learn was that all of my previous assumptions of people in ministry are other people’s assumptions too! Except now, they were looking into my life and scrutinizing all of my decisions.
Our boss, in all his wisdom, called this the ‘Glass House Experience.’ It’s as if we were living in a glass house and everybody had permission to look in and witness all aspects of our everyday lives. If we were truly going to be placed in a position where we proclaimed Christ, then we had to allow people to see what that looks like in everyday life.
The problem with this – I am not perfect! (real shocker, I know) I had always placed ministry leaders on a pedestal and now I was not living up to my own standards! The term ‘glass house’ seems so nice – like Disney Princess kind of house. But what I was experiencing was NOT the ice princess glass castle effect, I felt more like I was living in a Fishbowl! I was walking on eggshells waiting for someone to pounce on the opportunity to tell me how messed up I really am.
The truth is, I need Jesus just as much as anyone. I’m not perfect – and that’s okay. Even though people still find it difficult to believe that I can be quick to anger, too harsh on my kids, and even days when I’m a little prideful, I need to remember that God does not call the qualified – he qualifies the called.
If you’ve found yourself in a position where you feel unworthy of the title you’ve been given, remember that Moses was a murderer, Noah was a drunk, Jacob was a cheater, David slept with another man’s wife, Peter had a temper, and even Paul killed Christians. Moses, Noah, Jacob, David, Peter, Paul – they were all unqualified by our human standards and assumptions. But they were qualified by God, who worked through their lives as a process of making them a little more like Jesus everyday.
We are all a work in process. Even your pastor. Be kind to those in ministry. If you are in ministry – be kind to yourself!
Am I the only one? I hope not. I want to hear from you. What’s the hardest part of being in ministry? What assumptions and standards do you hold yourself or others to? Let me know in the comments below. Then, let’s learn to let our assumptions go and see people simply as someone who needs Jesus too!