One of my top 3 ministry gifts is administration. I love systems, processes and project plans. I love to set goals, strive to make them happen and help others move the ball forward. I actually enjoy coming into an area of chaos and bring order and structure so that growth can actually happen. These are my gifts and I work very hard to make this happen. I probably work too hard in fact. I spend a significant amount of time offsite because I don’t like being interrupted so much. I just need some peace and quite while I get stuff done. Although I think that my philosophy and approach is good, I’m confident that God wants to mess up my neat and structured little world.
As much as I prefer schedules and order, the real work of ministry doesn’t always happen that way. It happens at inconvenient times and beacons us to get personally involved, sometimes in uncomfortable ways. It’s funny how I’ve been experiencing this a little more lately. For years, I’ve worked with people who really understood the messiness of ministry. They lived and operated fully immersed in it. At times, I criticized this approach because there was no structure to scale and grow. I still stand beside my impressions, but I believe that there needs to be a balance of both in our lives. For me, I need to experience more of the messiness of the Gospel in my personal life and ministry.
Reggie Joiner opened up the Orange Conference with a very compelling talk about the messiness of the Gospel. It was probably one of the more significant talks Reggie has given at an Orange Conference.
Jesus set the example of what messy ministry looked like. His three short years of ministry were filled with frustration, difficult conversations and great tension. He didn’t live a sinless life to set a great example… he lived a sinless life so that he could pay the price for our sins. The disciples continued the ministry that Jesus began and it involved colliding with humanity is a personal and often painful way. They met people’s needs in dire circumstances that was often inconvenient and uncomfortable. I think that the reality that I’m discovering is that I am called to make disciples and it will never fit into my nice and neat schedule. Discipleship is messy and it will involve personal investment and sacrifices outside of my comfort zone. I’ve just got to learn how to be okay with that and walk into this lifestyle more willingly and then I’ll experience the joy that comes from seeing the gospel at work in the lives of others.