July 2, 2012

35 More Lessons Learned in Ministry

After I wrote and published a recent post, 50 Lessons Learned in Ministry, my mind just kept right on going, adding to the list of what God has taught me through our years of ministry. In making these lists, I have marveled at this life I lead. Certainly, there are times when ministry feels like a burden, but, in reflecting on what I have learned and am learning specifically through ministry, I recognize what a privilege and blessing it's been in my life. Perhaps making your own list will show you the same? For now, here's an addendum to my 50 Things:

51. My husband and my children are my primary ministry. Remembering this helps me make decisions regarding my time.
52. If I don't love people, I'm missing the point entirely.
53. I don't have to be friends with everyone, but I cannot be selective about who I will and won't love.
54. I cannot change a single heart except my own.
55. Feeling like a ministry wife failure is what (finally) opened me up to understand and receive God's grace. 
56. I get it wrong sometimes. In my failures, there is an opportunity for apology and an opportunity to receive grace.
57. When I'm fulfilling what God has given me to do, I don't have time for idle pursuits or discontentment.
58. Ministry described in a nutshell: God has blessed me, and, out of that, I extend blessing to others.
59. The overarching lesson in church planting is learning how to utterly depend on God.
60. I have to have a fully loaded arsenal.
61. The church is not to be a circle looking in but rather a circle looking out.
62. Ministry is just as much for me as it is for anyone else.
63. Bitter roots grow strong very quickly. I must tear them out constantly.
64. Church planting (or ministry for that matter) is not a competition.
65. It is a lie that activity is spiritual, that movement is communion, or that tasks bring life. 
66. The enemy seeks influencers to devour. The easiest way in with a pastor's wife is through her marriage or through resentment.
67. Being a pastor's wife is like a greenhouse--you can either suffocate and wilt from the heat or grow healthy and strong.
68. No matter where I've come, I still have alot to learn. If I ever think I've got it down or know it all, I'm in a bad place.
69. This is my job description: Follow God. Love people. 
70.  My no is a yes to something else; my yes is a no to something else.
71. I am not sufficient for ministry, but Christ has made me sufficient for ministry.
72. When I'm struggling in ministry, 2 Corinthians invariably sets me straight.
73. I can just survive, or I can choose joy and thankfulness. Since I'm doing it regardless, I should choose to do it with joy.
74. Biblical and effective spiritual growth typically happens in the context of community.
75. Sometimes community can be painful and difficult.
76. As a pastor's wife, I share in my husband's reward. 
77. Legalism sucks the life out of people.
78. There are little things that make a big difference: consistent time in the Word, praying before I meet up with someone who needs counsel, preparing my heart for church, and going to bed at a decent hour.
79. Going into ministry, I thought it would be glamorous, but I quickly discovered that leaders are those who serve (Jesus said that, which should have been my first clue that it wouldn't be glamorous) and ministry is about coming face-to-face with the brokenness of this world and my own heart.
80. Doing big things for God = Everyday Faithfulness
81. Seeking the approval of people is seeking a puny love. 
82. I can't wait for Heaven.
83. Nothing in our lives goes untouched by ministry.
84. Ministry is worth it because He is worth it.
85. God loves me and it has nothing to do with my performance or my service to Him.

If you do make a list of your own, I'd love for you to share some of the highlights in the comment section below!