Why did I step out of ‘secular work’ to do this? Hopefully my ex-colleagues will attest that it wasn’t because I was doing a terrible job. I really hope no-one gets into ‘formal/paid’ ministry because they are bad at their job. We should work hard in everything we do; a verse I’ve tried to live by:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)
I suppose it starts with what SURGE conference helpfully pointed out, on considering the triangle of Gifts, Passion and Need. It also co-incided with a time where I was seriously re-thinking what I would do for the next little while of life. Of course, there is a lot of prayer involved throughout to see if this is what God is really leading you to do.
What’s involved (so far):
- Admin: there is HEAPS of admin involved with church work! It seems a lot of people have found they aren’t so cut out for it. I personally like admin and meetings (I guess it comes from being in secular work).
- People: Encouraging and meeting up with people to conform to Christ. Helping people seek Christ in difficult times.
- Prep: whether it be for a study, sharing/devotion, a sermon or discipleship.
- Praying: at college, one of our lecturers pointed out that no-one is going to pay for us specifially to pray in our JD’s, but it really is the KEY part of this job but really for any Christian.
- Structure: There’s isn’t much. Chris already warned me about this when he did his ministry apprenticeship. I guess I’m learning to just make structure. This requires a lot of self-discipline. There’s no physical boss that’ll be displeased if you start work late.
- Switching Off: it’s hard to not think about ministry/people. I find it hard to have my time off I’m always tempted to keep checking my email. It also seems to be the topic of much conversation around the house, even on our time off/date nights.
It’s great if you are able to have a (female) Pastor’s Wife, Ministry Worker or College Student at your church. I’m sure God will use them well for His purposes.
“Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.” Titus 2:3-6 (MSG)
The reality is though, that most churches won’t have either of these people at your church. In fact, perhaps you feel like the substitute where you’re the oldest girl around, which means everyone looks to you but you don’t have anyone to look to. This is a tough spot to be in and I’m sure it can feel like a burden sometimes.
Even if you did have either one of these roles at your church, it would be a good idea not to put too much expectation on them. Some of these roles are on a volunteer basis. Some pastor’s wives are in a phase of life (perhaps with young children) simply where they do not have the time to invest and disciple a lot of young women. Sometimes they may not click with you that well. Or they already have a lot on their plate. College is pretty demanding so a lot of them may lack time, or perhaps they’re preparing to go overseas for mission.
There are some churches with lots of older women that are available. That’s great, I’m really praying that if you’re one of them that you’ll be able to come alongside a younger girl to encourage them, even though you might not be much older but you can be like an older sister to them 🙂
If you’re one of the women ‘at the top of the food chain’ with no-one to look after you I pray you’ll be able to find like-minded girls in the same situation to pray with and encourage each other regularly. It’s okay if you’re the same ‘spiritual level’. I’ve found this has been a good way of coping. Even though both people may be having difficult times, you know you’re not alone. We can bring each others burdens before God knowing He is ultimately the one looking after us.