18 Jul Have To Or Get To?
Let’s just be real… Full-time ministry is not very glorious! When I was young, I thought my days in ministry would be filled with in-depth Bible study and prayer, life-changing discipleship meetings at Starbucks, plenty of time to contemplate ways to inspire the people I’m leading, and loads of time to write and create. Let me just say, those expectations were way off…
The other day I was in a Lead Team meeting where the agenda included replacing a sewer system which was going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, city zoning ordinances, security issues, building renovations, staffing needs, org charts, and people issues. One of my pastor friends made an interesting observation. He said, “When I first got into ministry, I never thought I’d be sitting here talking about the price of sewers.” We all laughed and continued our meeting, but it was true.
Discovering the reality of ministry is an interesting process whether you are full-time or in a volunteer leadership role. It’s probably not as glorious as you thought before you were in the position. However, I’ve noticed a trend among many pastors, leaders, and friends. Sometimes, the reality of ministry can turn our “get to’s” into “have to’s”. Let me explain…
When we first get the opportunity to lead, we have a “get to” mentality. We say things like:
- “I get to lead worship for the youth this Wednesday!”
- “I can’t believe they would ask me to speak at this event.”
- “I can’t wait until Thursday for practice, it’s my first time playing in big church”
However, I’ve noticed that these sentiments can quickly fade once the newness wears off and we develop a “have to” mentality. We say things like:
- “I have to lead worship for the youth this Wednesday, but I wish I could be at the lake.”
- “I gotta get ready to speak, I don’t even know what they want me to talk about.”
- “Man, they scheduled me again! This is the third time this month.”
What once felt like and incredible gift has now become a burden. This is a slippery slope, and one must avoid it if he/she desires to remain in ministry long term. So how do you keep a “get to” attitude?
Duh… This may seem oversimplified, but your relationship with Jesus must come first. If you are far from God spiritually, ministry will drain you faster than anything. Spend time with Him. We must remember that it’s “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). We must rely on God and we can’t do that if we’re not being filled by Him.
It’s amazing how gratitude can change your attitude. Try this… Instead of thinking about all the things that are not going right in your ministry and how tired you are, think about the things God HAS done in and through you. Think about the lives that have been touched, and disciples that have been made. Think about the fact that there’s someone out there who would LOVE to be in your position and yet God has called you to do it.
Remember back to the time you heard the Lord calling you to follow Him. Remember back to the time when all you wanted was to be in the spot you are now. Israel Houghton tells a great story about this in an interview on the Catalyst Leadership Podcast.
Let us not forget that it’s a great honor and privilege to serve the Kings of Kings in ministry, whether you are a full-time pastor, admin staff, volunteer leader. We “GET TO” serve Him!