“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:19-20
Yesterday, Resurrection Sunday, I drove to church at 7:30 am. As I drove, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and radio was blasting out classic rock (another post for another day). It was a gorgeous morning, and on my mind were the people I grew up with: my childhood pastor, who had attended services at my church the night before, since he was pulpit supply Easter morning; my childhood best friend’s little brother, who is some sort of facilities-type pastor at a larger church in Illinois; a friend from Seminary, who has moved across the country to Arizona, but is already faithfully teaching in their new church (and was probably still sound asleep at that point!).
Hundreds of us, connected as saints through the blood of Christ, driving to churches across the country in the early morning hours, to share in our small parts in delivering the life-changing and earth-shattering message “He is Risen!”.
I was overwhelmed all morning.
“All” I did at our church this weekend was design and run lights for the main services. I have a background in technical theatre, and after healing in the pews for about 18 months, I approached the worship minister and asked to serve. They had been paying professional lighting designers to come in for “big” services, which is ridiculous, when I am more than happy to serve my church for free (and the cookies backstage!).
There is this unfortunate movement afoot among the women in the evangelical church, telling us that only by being preachers can we fulfill the great commission of Matthew 28. If not preachers, then teachers, or worship leaders, or influential bloggers, or writers, or Bible study authors, or…anything that violates I Timothy 2:12.
Satan has planted the lie that we cannot possibly be serving God if we are not doing big, great, huge things, and holding an audience in sway while we do it.
That is such a lie straight from the father of lies himself.
I minister by designing and running lights. Some weekends I simply show up and push the “go” button, because our programming pastor designed the lights. I coach a kids’ soccer team through our church league. I guarantee I’m ministering not only to those kiddos, but their parents and extended family who show up for games, as well. Keith and I lead a home group. We open our home, tiny and cluttered as it is, every week, to other families, where we eat some snacks, laugh together, and study the Word together. Ministry.
Women in my church thrive by ministering as worship team singers, piano players, guitar players, and the most incredibly joyful percussionist I’ve ever seen worship God in my life. Choir members. Nursery workers. Kindergarten teachers. Fourth grade Sunday school leaders (I cannot think of a worse place to serve. Ever.). Funeral dinner coordinators and preparers. Have you ever needed a funeral dinner? I have never been so grateful for a group of “church ladies” in my life as I was the day we buried my grandfather, in a town I’d only visited a few times, in a church I’d never visited. But they ministered to my entire family, with smiles, warm hugs, and homemade pie. Ministry.
Bible study leaders. I am learning about the book of John from an incredible and humble woman who takes her role as a teacher of God’s Word so seriously. Greeters! We actually have sections hosts at our church – these are people assigned the same section of seats at every service every week. Part of the reason we chose our church? The section hosts. They come to know the people in their section (you know how church people always sit in the same seats). They noticed us – they noticed when we were gone, or when we seemed “off.” Tell me those women aren’t serving as HUGE ministers of Christ.
Communion prep. Communion cup clean-up! What happens after you place your empty communion cup in the chair rack in front of you? Women come through after the service, before the next one, with plastic gloves and garbage bags, and clean up your mess (and not just your communion cups, but your discarded bulletins, wrapped up gum, empty water bottles, and spilled coffee cups). And you never see these women, unless you happen to be in the sanctuary between services for some reason. They don’t brag about their service, but this is a vital ministry to the Church.
Ladies, please don’t think that what you do for the Body of Christ isn’t ministry. Just because your name isn’t in the program or you aren’t wearing a microphone doesn’t mean you aren’t doing ministry for Jesus!
That is a lie, straight from Satan himself. You do not need to be a rock star, or a lead Bible study teacher, or a preacher, to minister. You need to love Jesus and be willing to love His people with your own abilities. Do you make meals for people in crisis? Ministry. Do you pray for people? Ministry. Do you sort food or clothing at a pantry, or work at a shelter? Ministry. Do you assist the elderly? Ministry.
We cannot – and we should not – all aspire to be the same thing. The Church would not survive if we were all doing the same thing, especially if those things violate His very Word.
“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” – I Corinthians 12:12