This is an intriguing question for me. As ministry leaders, we are enveloped in a culture that values getting things done. We talk about what a successful ministry looks like and we take into account all the things we have to do to make our ministry thrive.
For many of us, our ministry is about helping others develop a vibrant faith life rooted within our church community. In order to be successful, I need to foster opportunities for people to develop that relationship. If my task is to provide those opportunities for those I minister to, then the rest of it is out of my control.
If I think about it, I can only do so much before the Holy Spirit has to take over. I can’t force anyone to develop their faith and relationship with God. I can only give them opportunities to experience God in their lives. The rest is not up to me.
I’m a taskmaster. If I just get all these things done, will the people I serve have faith? I act as if my ministry is totally dependent on me and the work I do. The truth is quite the opposite. It’s a Spirit thing.
But can I trust in that?
The question changes at this point. It’s not about trusting the Holy Spirit. It’s about allowing myself to trust. It’s about doing what I can do and then turning it over to the Holy Spirit.
That’s easier said then done.
There are a couple things I try to do to help me change my attitude about my ministry.
- Meet with a spiritual director. For me, this is the most important part of my spiritual journey. My director allows me to share experiences of my life and asks me poignant questions that allow me to see how God is moving through these experiences. It also helps me understand what God is trying to communicate to me at that moment. These times help me pay attention to the movements of God in my life, which leads to the second bullet point.
- Recognize the Spirit’s work in our lives each day. When I was in college, we’d ask the same question in my small group each week. “Where have I seen God in my life this past week?” The answer I gave was not the most important aspect of this question. What was more important was that my mind and heart were becoming more attuned to the stirrings of God. I would know that each week, we would ask that question. Therefore, I better be on the look out for God! It worked. Even after I graduated and stopped meeting with that group, I still found myself looking for God. It was a habit. When I recognize that the Holy Spirit is constantly at work in my life everyday, then I cannot help but answer “yes” to the question, can I really trust the Holy Spirit.
Where have you seen the Holy Spirit working through your ministry during this past week?
Do you act as if your ministry is totally dependent on you?