This desire has turned into something different, but I believe that God gave me that little kick in the pants so that I would begin the process and educational research journey that I have been on for the last 947 days. I now know that I am a writer, have been paid for my writing and will continue to see where my love for words and the arranging of them will take me.
Still, the urge to assist young women in ministry life is strong in me and I will continue to encourage them and tell my ministry stories through this blog. Today I want to share some very practical ministry advice. A few things I wish I had been told before entering the odd and beautiful life of full-time vocational ministry. The first three.......
3 Practical Ministry Tips :
- Keep family as first priority. This seems like an obvious instruction. Of course our kids are first! But the choice will be faced again and again over the growing up years of your kids. You may start to hear the excuses in your head......"These people are in crisis, they need me right now."......"The kids will understand that it is for God."......."Just this once."....."A Christmas Eve service for hundreds is more important than a home evening for the kids."....."The kids understand why we cannot afford that."......"What will the church think?"
- The growing up years are short. The years of serving your congregation are long. If anyone can understand that they must sacrifice some time with you, it should be the church.
- Cultivate outside friendships. Yes, you can be close friends with people who attend your church, even though earlier generations taught us otherwise. We do not have to keep ourselves separate and should be able to be real and honest with the people we worship among.
- BUT, outside friendships are vital too. Get to know other women in your community through clubs, sports or schools. Spend time in NON-WORKING venues with the other ministry women and un-churched women in your city. You need and deserve friendships that have nothing to do with your ministry. And the ultimate motive for these friendships cannot be that you will help get them saved. Do I need to tell you that a women's Bible Study does NOT count as outside social fun?
- Put aside money for late in life. Begin NOW!!! In our idealistic ministry bubble, when asked what we were doing for a retirement plan, we answered, "We will never retire from ministry. Ministry is for life and God will take care of us." Umm, if we could change anything in our ministry life, it would be our naive assumption that financial planning was not needed. We have since seen that the phrase "God will take care of us" often translates into "the church will take care of us." and that is not cool. So I have become very knowledgeable about the processes of food stamps and county-provided health care in recent months. Not what I was picturing as a young and idealistic ministry wife 25 years ago.
Open a savings account today. Yes, God will take care of you by giving you the wisdom to listen to this advice! Haha!
That will do for today. The whole look and feel of ministry has changed a lot over the last decades and it is important that we are constantly reviewing and upgrading the expectations we place on ourselves and those who serve God around us.