Happy Monday, y’all! I have a serious treat for you today. My sweet friend Rachel of Our Yellow Door is sharing her heart today on ministry. Not only ministry but how to keep ministry simple and not get overwhelmed. Make sure you stop by her blog today and leave her some love. You will for sure find something you like on her blog, whether it’s her amazing Singleness Series, her various handmade projects + tutorials, or her tips for simple living. Welcome, Rachel!
When Hans and I got married a little less than a year ago, we made a radical decision. (You know, other than the decision to vow our lives to each other until death do us part. That’s pretty radical, too.) We decided to take our first year of marriage “off” from ministry.
You see, both Hans and I had been involved in just about every ministry we could be involved in. We’d spent years leading Bible studies, volunteering at church, being on our campus ministry leadership team, mentoring younger students, planning events, spending our summers devoted to this camp or that organization, and generally burning ourselves out.
Then we got married.
And we put a stop to those shenanigans.
It’s actually a Biblical principle. Deuteronomy 24:5 says, “When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife whom he has taken.” (ESV). Now, this is in the Old Testament, and therefore is part of the old covenant…not the new covenant of grace that Christ gives us. Hans didn’t quit his job and I didn’t quit going to school. But we did quit “formal” ministry. And it’s been so good for our marriage.
No matter what, our No. 1 priority needs to be Christ. After that, because of the vows we made before one another and Him, our No. 2 priority needs to our marriage. Then comes other people and ministry.
As our “year off” is coming to a close, Hans and I have been praying about where God wants us to be serving together, and He’s answered us. We live near one of the worst neighborhoods in Topeka…it has the highest infant mortality rate in the entire state. Our church is part of a ministry there: focused on reducing homelessness, increasing education, and empowering families. We feel like God is asking us to serve in our own backyard, to the people who are our literal neighbors.
And that’s all the ministry that we’re going to do.
Because we’d rather do one thing well than a dozen half-baked efforts. I believe that the Lord has called you and I to purpose, not busyness and burn out. Matthew 11:30 tells us that His burden is easy and His yoke is light. If we’re feeling overwhelmed, maybe we’re taking on more than He intended.
So, how do you keep ministry simple?
1. LISTEN TO GOD, NOT MAN
Remember, your security and your identity is in Him. You don’t need the approval of the campus director or the women’s event coordinator. You don’t need to find your identity and worth in a busy schedule. Your worth is in HIM, regardless of your “performance”. That’s what the Cross is all about! What are the things that God is calling you to? If people are asking you to do something outside of
God’s calling on your life, it’s always a better bet to go with God’s idea. He cares for you and knows your limits, and will never give you more than you can handle with Him. People, on the other hand, can easily disrespect your boundaries.
Galatians 1:10 – “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
2. WHAT ARE YOUR GIFTS?
Friend, do you know that you are an extraordinarily talented individual, endowed with a specific set of gifts and passions from the Creator of the Universe? Well sunshine, you are!
Whether it’s hospitality, building, writing, child care, gardening, or math…find a ministry where you can use the talents that God has given you for His glory. You don’t have to serve everywhere – don’t rob someone else of the opportunity to use their gifts because you’re trying to earn God’s love by having a busy schedule.
I Corinthians 12:4-6 – “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”
God, Family, Others/Ministry. When those priorities are firmly in place, it’s easy to make decisions. I think it’s possible to make an idol out of ministry, putting the “good things” we’re doing for God’s Kingdom above God Himself. The humbling reality is that God does not need us in order to get things done…He would much rather we have an authentic, intimate relationship with Him than heaps of ministry involvement.
If the Lord has blessed you with a spouse, that person needs to be your second priority. If ministry threatens your marriage (too many nights away from home, too much involvement in the lives of other people vs. the life of your spouse, etc.) then by all means, scale back! God asks us to tend to our own families first.
The Lord has called you to a simple and specific purpose, friend. Focus on Him, use the gifts He has given you, and keep your priorities in order as you do so. Want to read more? Check out how to simplify your schedule and how to simplify your stress!
What are others ways you can keep ministry simple?