Sunday, August 7, 2011


The month of July 2011 was ....indescribable. In both a good and a bad way. Honestly, I still don't even know how to describe it. It's so surreal to have experienced such sheer happiness and joy, while at the same time experiencing such shocking betrayal and pain. I feel like I've experienced every extreme emotion imaginable, all within the span of a few short weeks. I wish I could elaborate more, but I can't. I still feel a little numb to it all.

I can honestly say that the third week of July was the most difficult and painful week of all my years in ministry, and one of the worst weeks of my life as a whole. Something horrible happened that I still can hardly even believe - and yet I'm grateful that through it all, the Lord blessed me in tremendous ways with courage, wisdom, and clarity of mind that I can only say came from God. Again, such a paradox: I experienced emotional trauma like I have never felt before yet at the same time, I experienced joy and peace from God like I can't even describe.

In the middle of dealing with some intensely personal stuff, I also had the privilege of helping several people from both campuses of my church work through some really difficult stuff. I went to bat so many times for them through prayer and through serving for them in practical ways, even when I was feeling totally drained myself and was the one needing to be ministered to.

And through it all, I kept remembering one thing: this IS ministry.

Ministry is not a program for an hour a week on Wednesday or Sunday. Ministry is not being in a small group Bible study. Ministry is not serving the community. Ministry is not teaching people the Bible. Ministry is not evangelism. Yes, those are all important components of ministry, but they are NOT ministry. Ministry is about caring for the one.

Ministry is ALL about the one.

The one person who is in the hospital, feeling uncomfortable because of their illness and wishing they could just be at home.

The one person who was in a dangerous situation and needs your help.

The one person who is living their life, doing whatever they want, hurting themselves and hurting others because they know they're looking for something but they don't even know what that is.

The one person who needs help moving. Or cleaning their house. Or mowing their lawn.

The one person who feels overwhelmed and needs someone to help them keep their head above water.

The one person who was betrayed and feels like they can never trust again, so they need someone to show them through Christ's love that they WILL find healing and WILL be able to fully trust again soon.

The one person whose life is going well, but is still living life without Christ and is heading to a Christ-less eternity.

The one person who can't pay their bills and needs a church family to rally around them, not as a charity case but because they are family, and families take care of their own.

The one who just really needs a hug. They don't need to you fix everything, they don't need your advice - they just need a hug.

Ministry is all about the one. And the high privilege and calling a minister is to minister to the one. Even when he's tired. Even when he'd rather do other things. Even when it's easier to let someone else do it.

Ministry is all about the one, and the minister needs to know - REALLY know - the people he ministers to in order to best minister to them. Proverbs 27:23 NLT puts it this way: "Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds."

In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus talks about the importance of leaving the group of 99 sheep to go find and bring back the ONE sheep who was lost. Ministry is all about the one.

So now it's August. I feel like I've been through the wringer. I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. I feel like I've poured myself out to the last drop for others. It's been tough and I've never experienced anything like this before, but I still count it a high privilege. It is an honor - an HONOR - to stand alongside people in their most difficult times and help them keep their eyes fixed on the hope of God.

As indescribable and difficult as July was, I wouldn't trade it for the world. It was a great month of ministering to people at a time.

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