Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lord of the Broken Fellowship

Twice.  Twice in 2012 two of my friends in ministry have been dismissed.  An then looking back in 2011, it happened to a family in ministry who I dearly loved.  Going back thirty years, year by year,  I can remember breaks of fellowship.  I cannot figure out what it is about vocational ministry, but it seems to break hearts.

I know, I know.  Satan attacks those in ministry.  I know, I know.  There are always two sides to every story.  But here's the thing as believers we elevate those who are in vocational ministry.  We long to be serving right next to them.  We "heroize" the broken people who fill these positions in churches, para-church ministries, and any type of artistic ministry.  (I made up the word "heroize" by the way.)

How do I know this?  Well, many years ago I longed to be on staff at a very cool  and trendy church.  So I made it happen.  I applied for the job as the Kiddie Kingdom Director.  I was in charge of about 500 little rug rats and their programs.  I'm not much of kid person, except for my own children and now grandchildren.  Anyway, I applied.  I met with the pastor and we both said we'd "pray about it."  Of course, I was hired immediately.  I became a hero by my own manipulation.

The next Tuesday, I got to go as a cool staff person to the very cool and elite staff meeting.  What a joke!  I lasted on the job about 3 weeks.  It was not what I imagined. My heart was embarrassed and broken.

Since then, I have been in vocational ministry for about 15 years in positions that fit my gifts and callings better.  Women's Ministry Director, Christian author and speaker, etc.  Here's what I have learned--all ministry is harder than anyone ever imagines.  There is brokenness of relationships in every church, just as much, if not more so than in the secular world.  We expect so much more out of Christians, but we continue to fail one another.  We break the hearts and fellowship of the very people who were our heroes.

The Apostle Paul wrote,

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV) (Emphasis mine.)

 "Until we all reach unity." Complete unity will not happen this side of heaven.  So, we will continue to break each other's hearts as we minister.    Thankfully, we serve a God who is the Lord of broken fellowships.  He knows because  he was betrayed by a friend serving in ministry too.  He understands even if we do not. 

Seek the Mystery in 2013, not the ministry.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Embraced by the Father

This book trailer was made by two of my dear friends, Nate Johnson and Dawn Bruner.  It's so beautiful that I just had to share it on  The Mystery and Minstrel.

If you are interested in purchasing Embraced by the Father you can find it on Amazon: Embraced by the Father. (It also available now in e-book form).   It is also available at CBD or  most Christian bookstores.

Seek the Mystery,