This was the altar time yesterday at Celebration Church. Savanna took the photo with her phone as the altar time was going on at church. It was a great day, with people going hard after God. Moments like this are what make the ministry all worth it. Many times in ministry it's what's happened at the altar that has kept me going another week!!!
There were some wonderful speakers at this past weekend's Experience Conference and one of them was my friend Marsha Woolley, our district women's director. She's one of the most dynamic speakers you'll ever hear. She presented a teaching on life in the ministry and the character needed to withstand the pressure. Today I'm sharing some takeaways from this message that were meaningful to me and why.
Marsha shared about how most people [who are not in vocational ministry] "romanticize" the ministry. They have a conception that is completely different from reality...which is why many get disillusioned and don't make it.
Someone recently asked her, "what's the hardest thing for you in ministry?" She answered, "Somebody's ALWAYS talking to me." (One of the hardest things is that you can't ever walk down a hallway without somebody stopping you.) I so related to her remarks about this. It is hard to find a moment's peace. Most people don't realize, a pastor cannot even come out of their office and walk anywhere else on the church campus without being stopped. It's not that you don't love people. It's just that quiet doesn't exist outside of your office or bathroom. And sometimes even there people are knocking. On Sunday mornings in between the Christian Education Hour and Morning Worship I always have to use the restroom however some mornings I force myself to hold it until after church because the 15 minutes of silence and prayer that I get in the back room is more valuable to me than going. Leaving the privacy of the prayer room to go down the hall to the ladies room means I will be stopped at least three or four times and may not make it back in time to ascend the platform for worship. Most times I sound like a broken record, giving people hugs or handshakes saying, "Love ya, but I've gotta get to prayer..." I know it sounds rude and probably hurts feelings at times and I sure don't mean for it to.
She also shared that when pastors face the worst moments of their lives, they generally do so in a very public fashion...little privacy. This is true. One of the reasons my husband didn't want to blog and only recently started was because he just wanted to keep his feelings private as he has so little privacy to begin with. I'm proud of him for stepping out anyway and blogging.
"Ministry is 90% perspiration, 10% inspiration and it will cost you everything!!!"
"Pastoring requires extended good behavior..because you are always with the same people and don't leave to go to a new group each week like an evangelist does." (You have to work through conflicts and challenges with people, and don't have the luxury of just moving on every time something stressful happens.)
"If you're in the ministry by the time you die you will have already died so many times."
All these are reasons why things like salvations, altar times, water baptisms, prayer times, worship times and other things like that are what we hang on for! For those things, it's WORTH IT ALL!
For the rest of times, God has given us His matchless grace.