I work as a DJ at a Christian radio station. My co-workers and I come up with topics and ideas that we hope will spark people’s interest and challenge them in their relationship with God. We go on the air for a few hours and talk to people we can’t see. We tell them about our life and experiences. How God is present our lives. We hope and pray that we are reaching someone, helping someone to know Jesus better. Only a microphone and a choice to listen connects us to people on the other side of the radio.
In contrast, my friend is a youth pastor. He has a chance every week to meet with the kids in his youth group. He can talk directly to them in a one-on-one basis and attempt to form relationships. When he tells them what God has been showing him, they can see it firsthand in his actions and in the expression on his face. If they choose to, they can go deeper, ask questions and continue to journey toward discovering who God really is and how to form a deeper relationship with Him. As a youth pastor, my friend can challenge them, and they can respond face-to-face. He knows that the more time he can invest in them, the better.
As we talked about this, I began to wonder which was better. Which form of ministry is more effective? Am I satisfied with what I do, and am I impacting those around me?
I’ve come to realize that I was thinking about this the wrong way. I have made the mistake of labeling what I do as being ministry. By doing this, I have robbed myself of the true understanding of what it means to minister to people.
Ministry is not about placement or status. Our ministry can be measured by how much we love people, not whether or not we are labeled as a youth pastor, missionary or DJ. These are wonderful ways to impact others, but there is much more to the act of ministering.
Ministry is less about speaking the words of Jesus Christ and more about acting them out on a daily basis to the people we encounter. The love we show others can be sharing words of encouragement, leaving a good tip for a tired waitress or cooking and cleaning house for a friend who has had a rough week. Loving people means respecting them no matter what the circumstances.
In our desire to do grandiose things for God, we can forget that the great and wonderful is in the everyday expressions of love we extend. This is the amazing part of knowing Jesus Christ. Walking with Him means that we desire to be like Him. He infuses us with His love, and we are able to minister where we are.
The parable of the Good Samaritan tells the story of a man who had been beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Two people, including a priest, pass this man by and refuse to help. Finally, a Samaritan stops, bandages this mans wounds and gives him the help he needs. If we want to be a minister of God and bless the Lord, this is how we do it. He doesn’t just want our applause … He wants our participation. Because of His love, we are empowered to love others and take action to help make a difference.
Tomorrow I will go back to work and know that when the microphone is on, I can help a listener with his daily struggles and let him know he’s not alone. My friend will walk into his church, stand before a group of kids that are facing pressure from all sides to compromise. He’ll challenge them to stand for Christ, and they will watch every move he makes. We will both seek God’s wisdom and direction, and at times it will be the words we speak and at times the acts of love that will reach these people we desperately desire to serve. Maybe the words we speak or the actions of love we carry out could change someone’s life for an eternity. That is true ministry.[Shannon Steele lives and works in Visalia, Calif. She is the producer and co-host for Joe and Shannon in the Morning at KDUV fm. In her free time, she enjoys reading, searching for intriguing independent music and writing for RELEVANT.]
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