What have you done lately?

Posted: 01/15/2015 in Life lessons
Tags: , , ,
whathaveyoudone

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“What are you doing these days, Pastor Joe?”

This is a question I have been frequently asked by former fellow church goers. After twenty years in full time ministry, twelve of which transpired in the community where my wife and I reside, I guess people want to know what we’re up to. Especially, after a five or six year span of no church affiliation. The one’s that don’t ask seem to be holding back the question. In the beginning of our hiatus from the world of churchianity, we would run into folks from the various churches in our town, folks that know us rather well, and there would sometimes be an awkward hesitance. Then, with seemingly nothing to say, “How are you and sister Tina doing, Pastor Joe, what are you doing these days?” “Where are your going to church?” It wasn’t always the case but it did happen fairly often. Some seemed to be surprised that my wife and I were doing so well despite the fact that – GASP – we weren’t going to church somewhere…anywhere. Is that possible? I have been told that I am wasting my talents by not teaching in a church somewhere. “You’re forsaking the call, Pastor Joe.” “The body of Christ is suffering for good teaching and you’re out here doing nothing…you’re just hurt…you’re just angry…you’re just being bitter,” some would tell me…in love, of course. “We just want to be fed and we value your teaching,” others would say. And still others would say, “Why don’t you start a church?”

I appreciate the love and flattery support. Some of it was supportive, some of it, not so much. I just have a few bones to pick with church-as-we-know-it and until I sort it all out, I’m okay with things as they presently are. I’m going to continue to work out my own salvation with reverence and respect. And, in the meantime, I’ll just do my best by His Spirit to be salt and light wherever I go. I mean, wherever we go is where ministry is supposed to take place anyways, right? Not just in church?

So let me just say it.

Because I am not worshiping God in a church somewhere does not mean I am not worshiping God. Because I have chosen to leave church-as-we-know-it does not mean that I have chosen to leave God. Nor, does it mean that I hate church. In fact, I am still part of the true church which is the body of Christ. Because I am not teaching at a church does not mean I am not teaching at all. I have participated in the former activities for twenty five of the thirty plus years of my Christendom, twenty as a professional minister. Now, I’m walking it out a different way. My conscience does not condemn me.

Ministry is everywhere.

Today, a co-worker received the awful news that her mother did not survive a surgery. I was summoned to console her. As I embraced her and offered silent prayer in the lobby of the middle school where I work, she slowly began to calm. I’m absolutely sure that this is just the beginning of helping her…and her children…walk through this dark time. Why? Because we are friends and we have developed a relationship where she knows what I stand for and, simply, that I care.

While briefing the principal about this tragic situation, he informed me of another one. There had been a car accident that morning and the lives of a student from another middle school in our community and her mother were tragically taken. He asked me to stand by to offer grief consolation support to any of the students who may require the service then proceeded to inform the principal of the other school of my availability. Why? Because he knows me and what I stand for. We have developed a relationship over the years where he has grown to recognize the skill-set God has given me. He knows that I care. Each day I go to work, I have the opportunity to work with students who need love and support and guidance. God has provided me a platform and gifted me with the skills to share His Light and Love at work and everywhere I go.

“Yeah, but do you preach Jesus?” No, do you? Jesus didn’t preach Jesus, either. He was moved with compassion because people were like sheep without a shepherd and He ministered to their needs. “But the apostles preached Christ and Him crucified.” That’s true, they did. They had a mandate from Jesus Himself to do so to the then known world. They were responsible to be the foundation and guiding force of the infant church. Sometimes I get the opportunity to “preach Jesus,” and build on that foundation, sometimes I don’t. But, whether I do or not, I do my level best, by His grace, to love God with everything I’ve got and to love others as myself. God is love, so just because I don’t “preach Christ” does not mean people don’t witness Him in my life. “By this shall all men know you are My disciples; if you have love one for another.” No man comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws him, anyway. One man plants…one man waters…but God gives the increase.

And don’t get me started about the opportunities my wife has. For both of us, there have been increasingly more and more daily opportunities to minister God’s love and peace in our every day lives. We are absolutely thankful for that!

Church-as-we-know-it is not the hero. God is.

So, we are going to try our hands at this for a season. Do our best to be a witness Monday through Friday, take Saturdays for our marriage and relationship building day (while still being a witness), and take Sundays off (while still being a witness). “For how long?” you may ask. I don’t know. I did the last thing for thirty years. But for now at least, this is what my wife and I have been doing, lately.


~ Peace and blessings~

…joe

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Comments
  1. Laura says:

    You are so right Joe, church as we know it today, for the most part, really means go to a physical building fulfilling a duty, going home and changing from our church clothes and go on with our everyday day lives with Jesus on the back burner until Wednesday night or the following Sunday. We ARE the church and what is important is our DAILY walk! I pray Gods blessing on your lives as you continue to minister in your daily walk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Laura. We’ve come a long way from our days at Calvary Temple, huh? I appreciate your comments and your continued support.

      ~ Peace and blessings… (c:]

      Like

  2. Brother Dave says:

    Excellent post brother Joe….I was encouraged by your openness and honesty. I hope and pray more folks would read and study the scriptures so they could truly understand ministry.

    Let us minister wherever God places us.

    Liked by 1 person

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