Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Ask and Ye Shall Receive
Yesterday I came into my office with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. I had a long to-do list, which doesn't bother me, but what did have me aching and moaning was that over half of my list involved calling people and asking them to do things. I hate asking people to do things. I hate the idea that I'm putting someone out or inconveniencing them. But, sometimes there's no more hiding behind other items on the list and it's time to make some calls. And so, I did. About mid-way thru one of the people I called, called me back and said, "Hey, can't I make some of these calls for you?" HALLELUJAH!!! My heart soared, my shoulders lifted - FREEDOM as William Wallace would say. And then, she said next, "Why didn't you ask me in the first place?" Oh, um, well...I guess that would have been easier and better and smarter and...
The mentality of not wanting to ask people to do things is not good - just read the Bible, pretty much any of it. And, it's particularly dangerous in ministry for two reasons:
1. It leads to the conclusion that I should just do everything myself, "for convenience sake." For starters, I am not capable or qualified to do everything myself. It's arrogance to presume that one person can do the work of the body of Christ. Paul said very specifically that each of us gets to be only one body part at a time, requiring us to work together. If I do everything, I'm under-serving God who deserves our best, I'm neglecting my family and my health, which is a big no-no (remember that whole idea about our bodies being God's temple?) and I'm under-valuing all of the people who are ready and willing to serve and offer their gifts.
2. God created all of us to be part of what He's doing in the world. If I don't ask people to do things, I'm denying them their role in God's creation. I'm making assumptions on their behalf instead of giving them the ability to make decisions for themselves.
In all ministry and in church planting especially, I'm learning that my job is enabling the body not being the body. And so, look out team, I'm going to be asking. You can always tell me no and you should tell me no if I ask you to do something God isn't calling you to do. But, I'm going to start opening the door for you and God to have that conversation.
Hmm, leading people into conversation with God, wonder if that's what a pastor is supposed to do?