Present to Ministry

Recently, I was asked to provide a personal definition of ministry.  Like most other things, I didn’t realize how much time I would have to spend thinking about it!  As frustrating as it was, I’m grateful I set aside the time to sit down and really think about it. 

Below is my response to defining ministry.  Whether you choose to read it or not, that’s up to you!  But I challenge you to do the same sometime.  As rough (or time-consuming) as it may be, take a few minutes to focus on what ministry is to you and how it impacts your world.  Being present to the moment of your ministry will take you on a beautiful journey.

There is something mysterious about the dwindling embers of the campfire’s blaze, the soothing sounds of ocean waves rolling on the shore, the calmness that comes with gazing at the vastness of the stars, or the tenderness of grandma’s embrace.  Each, in their own way, pierces the walls (yes that’s plural) surrounding my heart and in those brief moments of inner-stillness, I feel the weight I carry disappear.  The pain kept inside is relieved, my mind stops racing about the challenges of tomorrow, and I remember to focus on the moment and the sacredness that surrounds me.

At the same time, I love reconnecting with my congregation on Sundays.  Church is an opportunity to listen to the stories of each other’s soul and how they could potentially shape our own.  Together we sing, share, laugh, celebrate, and pray.  Once again, I find that these moments penetrate my heart’s fortress and the weight I carry disappears.

For me, ministry is the process of transformation.  Either watching a toddler experience the adventures found in every church pew, talking with a dear friend when I feel broken inside, or the nights I spent alone swaying back and forth on a swinging bridge, I discovered the power of ministry by simply being present to the moment.  We are continuously called to pursue something greater than ourselves, and if we choose to respond openly to that sacredness, every step has the power to transform our relationships with self, community, and God making us ministers of the living Spirit.

One thought on “Present to Ministry

  1. Erica Blevins Nye says:

    Ryan, it’s interesting that your concept of “ministry” is closely tied to a sense of personal peace and finding inner stillness in the midst of a busy life. And your community faith (lived out in congregational life) centers on connecting deeply with other believers to find a sense of acceptance and unity. What you don’t lift up as most important are rituals of the faith community like worship elements or priesthood traditions. You also don’t stress evangelism as a top definition of ministry.
    I believe this a common theme among today’s young adults. And it’s a shift from how many CofChrist/RLDS folks in previous generations would have defined “ministry”. It will continue to be important for our faith community to contemplate what these shifts mean for our mission and how to approach “Inviting to Christ” with younger generations.

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