As well as what you read here we’ve been out and about as a combination to two motorbike clubs, one car club and one Church of England in Warwickshire as well as some motorbike clubs in Derbyshire, Birmingham and the West Midlands, a number of different clubs in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire and the West Midlands, thus about a dozen or more clubs to one church. That ratio sounds about right!
When former colleagues ask why I left the ministry I have a little bit of fun comparing notes over the previous year. So far, without fail, every pastor who has asked me this has been involved in little or no ministry outside church meetings at all, so then I politely ask them why it is they have they have left the ministry? I’m not being facetious though as I’ve been where they are and know that running a church isn’t called full time for nothing! Problem is, it is mostly full time activity as opposed to full time ministry. Calling something full time ministry doesn’t mean it is full time ministry any more than calling a Suzuki Intruder a Harley Davidson makes it a Harley Davidson. Nonetheless, if you misapply a word often enough you can start to believe it yourself. When I was a denominational pastor I was steeped in a culture where for a hundred years it was taught that ‘The Ministry’ was holding a plastic credential. Yes, we had plastic long before anyone else! Yet never in 23 years of carrying one of these plastic cards was I asked to show it in a hospital, school, prison, motorbike club or anywhere else, not even a congregation.
James Bond might need a plastic card to open doors, but ministers with God’s anointing on their life sure don’t. God challenges people not to rely on man’s ways, but on his! God called fishermen, carpenters and professional clergy to follow him and didn’t Saul have to give up his denominational career to be a minister for Jesus too? This may sound like an outrageous comment, but think about it, Saul was a believer in God who was baptised, studied and had a plastic credential, yes even Saul had plastic, he had passed his exams, mastered his denomination’s constitution and was hell bent on enforcing it too, but somewhere along the line he had lost his love for God and as a result his ministry went out the window. Ministry is not a position, title or card, ministry is God flowing through you to touch others and change society. So, my titled friend, are you seeing ministry or are you just active? Worse still, have you become a Pharisee (Career Minister)?
If you now realise you have become a Career Minister and lost your love for God, act! Saul didn’t beat himself up, look for a political solution or justify his behaviour, he acted. Learn from this, constantly think about what you do and to ask the question why? Right now the bulk of my ministry is well outside of conventional church life and I love it, equally I know others who are the opposite and they love that too. Some of them have church ministries that are astonishingly good, but the key word here for both of us is ministry, not activity and certainly not position! So, what is your ministry ratio?
A healthy ministry ratio won’t go unnoticed.