Doubt is not the opposite of faith;
What is your definition of ministry?*
Perhaps our American Constitutional
concept of "Separation of Church and State" permeates our
consciousness more than we realize. According to most definitions work is work
and ministry is what certain officially ordained clergy do for work. But
are we ordinary people not Christians every part of every day or does that only happen when
we're in Church? How does our idea of ministry change if we are being Christ's
ministers whenever and wherever we are? Maybe that seems easier if you're a
teacher, a doctor, or a social worker. Is it possible to be a minister if
you're a motorcycle mechanic, house painter, file clerk, or corporate CEO? If
we truly are one body in Christ with many members each with our own gifts, what,
in even shaky Faith, is there to Fear from accepting our roles as ministers of the Gospel whatever, whenever, wherever it is that we are doing?
Dear Chief Minister:
I really don't want to stand on the street corner and handout leaflets, or knock on doors to proclaim You to the world. Even so, I would like to believe that I can be one of Your ministers without having to be so formal about it. Maybe I'm just being presumptuous to think so if I have no special training or credentials. So, how do I get to have a ministry? Maybe if for today I give up the notion that only specially educated, formally trained, ordained people can be ministers, I can take on looking at the most mundane, or more important task as a ministry. If it is something that needs to be done, wherever it is, I can complete it or at least contribute time and energy to it without grumbling and resentment. I can smile at someone I pass on the street. I can listen to someone without interrupting. I can just be a comfortable presence and accept people for who and where in life they are. I can serve soup, or read at the Sunday service, serve on a church vestry or council; I can learn how to do other kinds of ministry in and out of “Church.” I can seek some training in an area of Church life that interests me. I can pray to know You are with me always and allow that to guide my thoughts, my actions, and my sense of being an integral part Your One Body. If everything I do is in the spirit of and as a minister of Christ's Gospel, then perhaps I will more easily be conscious of what I will NOT do, and, act accordingly. amen.
**Verna Dozier was a diminutive African-American woman in physical stature only. A trail-blazer in the movement of the "authority of the laity," a foremost Christian educator as a second career, author of books such as The Dream of God, The Calling of the Laity, The Authority of the Laity, and her self-directed Bible study process for lay groups: Equipping the Saints. One of her greatest gifts was making the Bible accessible to everyone by her down-to-earth discussions, sermons, lectures, articles, retreats, and her mere presence. A master storyteller, educator, and leader, Ms. Dozier spoke with a prophetic voice. To those who knew her well she was funny and she could be quite blunt, but, she was always a minister. She graced this world, the Church, and anyone who was fortunate enough to have met her and listened to her. But if you never met her, you can still read her.