Being in the ministry is not a straight-forward thing. It has ups and downs. It has joys and pains. It challenges you and tests your faith. It fires you up and tires you out. It’s confusing. It’s simple. It’s educational. It’s so many things and so much more. Being in the ministry has taught me so many things. Here are some of them.
The ministry taught me…
1. How to put myself first. This includes my relationship with God. If I’m burned out, tired, or spiritually drained, then I will have nothing to offer. So it’s important that I’m first and foremost, at the very least, okay. I need to be in a good place because if I’m not, I’m no good to anybody.
2. How to pray for people. The ministry involves other people besides yourself, and when you’re in the lives of others, you see their needs and troubles. They touch your heart and you pray for them. Then you learn how to pray for them, like praying for the needs they’re not voicing out but you can see in their eyes.
3. How to work with others and that I need to work with others. I can’t do the ministry alone. That will make me go crazy. I need people around me working with me. By my nature and character, I prefer to work alone. I see this about myself in school. The ministry taught me how to work with a team and the importance of a team. I need my team.
4. How to lead and delegate. Coming along with working with others, the ministry taught me how to lead a group and how to delegate responsibilities. I think the two go hand in hand because leaders should know how to delegate.
5. How to trust others. With delegation comes trust. I learned how to trust others to do what needs to be done. The funny thing about this is sometimes I have to thrust the trust. I have to push others to step up to the plate because they’re not always sure they can do it.
So on that note, the ministry taught me…
6. How to raise leaders. It’s like teaching a baby bird how to fly. You have to push, encourage, coax, cheer, and sometimes swoop in and save them. Then do it all over again. It’s part instilling confidence and part making them realize they already have what it takes. It’s training and it’s opening their eyes to who they already are.
7. Public speaking. It’s true. I was pushed to speak in front, act in front, dance in front, and sing in front of many people…a few times, over 200 hundred people. Being in the ministry…even just one ministry…opens you up to the other ministries. Ministry people find themselves in plays, musicals, performances, or facilitating or emcee-ing events. The more I’m up there in front of the entire congregation, the more comfortable I was. Public speaking was normalized, and when something is normal, it’s not so scary anymore. So I push my volunteers to be up there too. They get the experience and I’m less stressed 😛
8. How to think on my feet. It’s a must skill. There are so many unplanned things that can happen, from accidents to leadings of the Holy Spirit. I learned how to think fast because people are waiting or the windows of opportunities are closing.
9. How to think out of the box in different areas of the ministry, like in teaching or explaining Sunday School lessons, in crafts, in events, in showing God’s love, and even in budgeting. Our God is Creativity to the max, and He created us in His image. We can be creative too.
10. That glitter is pretty but the messiest things ever invented. Spilled glitter stays around forever!
The ministry taught me…
11. Big words. My friend was the one that mentioned this to me first, because her high school classmates commented that she had an older vocabulary. Being in the ministry exposes you to the vocabulary of different people from different cultures, backgrounds, and of different ages. More so, you’re exposed to ministry leaders and pastors who train you, and they usually introduce the big words. And you start using the same words. Words or terms like: ministry, servant leadership, exhortation, beatitudes, expound, fasting, trinity, discipleship, and so on. These may be familiar words to many, but most likely not for the peers of the younger people in the ministry.
12. How to write permission slips and liability forms. We need to cover the ministry, its leaders and workers, the church, and her leaders and workers from possible lawsuits. Speaking of covering ourselves, training is worth mentioning now, because the ministry team needs to be on the same page about what to do if [fill in the blanks] happens.
13. How to create fliers or printables and write Sunday School lessons. Ministry people wear different hats, and I’ve had to wear these types of hats.
14. How to find resources, especially free resources, and pick the right ones. It’s not just a matter of using the first thing you find. Every resources must be vetted. It has to be Biblically sound and works well with the culture of your ministry. Plus, there are other vetting categories that come into play, like cost, timeliness, ease of use, etc.
15. Take lots of pictures. Because anything can happen at any time.
And there’s so much more! There’s a lot the ministry can teach us because the ministry deals with life. Serving God, serving people, helping others, communicating theology aka faith stuff. So a lot of the things we can learn in the ministry can be applied in life.