Next week some new ministries begin at Tabernacle that I’m very excited about to go along with the beginning of a new school year. I was looking over a flyer that will hopefully go up over the weekend with a veteran missionary when he looked up and asked, “when is your day off?” I explained that Monday was my day off since the only ministry done was Bible Club, discipleship, homework help, and some stories (2 1/2 hours of ministry) but he shook his head. “No that won’t work” he told me, “there needs to be a day you do no ministry.”
I started to laugh but then realized he had a dead serious expression on his face. “Oh man” I though to myself, “he really means it!”
That conversation led to Tuesday’s officially becoming my day off which means no ministry starting today.
- No Bible club
- No bible stories for children who come by
- No homework help
- No discipleship
- I won’t even be able to take part in our new tutoring ministry that starts on Tuesday evenings!
Now of course the words “day off” gives people the idea that I’m sitting on the couch wearing sweatpants watching Gilmore Girls and eating a pint of ice-cream so let me assure you that’s not happening…I don’t have any sweatpants 🙂 In all honesty today’s been focused on things that are vital, but can be pushed out of the way because of ministry.
- Daily projects like laundry
- Scripture reading (longer than devotions that emphasizes looking for themes)
- Writing (both blog writing, and deeper writing on cultural issues)
- Reading and research on news and cultural events
- Planning out future ministry opportunities
- Theology and Hermeneutics study
- Reading of challenging books (currently working through “The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love” by Jonathan Leeman)
- Lesson plans for discipleship
- And watch football (yes this is vital!)
- In other words my day off revolves around study
The truth is there’s time for this kind of study on normal ministry days, however there’s a deeper reason for my need of a day off.
I view ministry as activity…
In other words I’m a spaz
To me a spaz is someone who is constantly moving from one thing to the next and cannot simply slow down…in fact for a spaz slowing down feels like laziness (trust me I know). This can easily connect with missions or any kind of ministry because success is viewed as activity.
So at the end of the day I ask myself “how much time did I spend ministering face to face with people?” In a way this is a good thing but there will be days when that kind of ministry just doesn’t happen, and the thing for a spaz (me) to understand is THATS OKAY. Because there is a lot of missions that isn’t done in the face to face outreach/discipleship/teaching manner. And if these kinds of ministries are overlooked it SERIOUSLY DAMAGES THE FACE TO FACE MINISTRY!!
It’s absolutely impossible to pour myself into other people if my cup is empty.
But my spastic side doesn’t want me to know that. Instead the time reading, meditating, studying, praying, and wrestling with ideas is met with “man when are you going to do some real ministry!”
Now I could respond “this is real ministry!” But the change only comes when a large amount of time and energy is expended on those seemingly unimportant parts of ministry. It’s only after experiencing the closeness to God, clarity of purpose, and strength that studying Scripture and seriously thinking about the Gospel of Christ that the day off becomes incredibly important.
I’m gonna be honest with you, today wasn’t that great because my mind is still in “spastic mode” thinking about what needs to be done next (and moving from one thing to the next WAY too fast) instead of feasting on God’s truth. But with God’s help a day filled with theology, Scripture, prayer, reading, and writing eventually won’t be viewed as laziness but my favorite part of the week.
Now If you will excuse me, I’m going to make some pancakes and brew a second pot of coffee 🙂