Are you doing the same things that you were five years ago? Does your ministry (we are all called to ministry as followers of Christ) look the same as it did five years ago? As you discover your God-given giftedness, have those gifts developed beyond what they were five years ago? Have you discovered any additional gifts that you might have?
“As we mature in faith and grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of God” which is our faith development, also our behaviors and actions change and develop, which is our works of mission and service.
Bishop Schnase writes …
Mission and Service refers to the projects, efforts, and work people do to make a positive difference in the lives of others for the purposes of Christ, whether or not they will ever become part of the community of faith.
Risk-taking pushes us out of our comfort zone, stretching us beyond service to people we already know, exposing us to people, situations, and needs that we would never ordinarily encounter apart from our deliberate intention to serve Christ.
Jesus’ ministry was risk-taking as he healed on Sabbath, ate with with sinners, called a tax collector to “follow me,” touched the unclean (lepers), defended the adulteress, was anointed by a woman of questionable character, took time for children, and traveled through Samaria. Finally, he performed the act of a servant, washing the disciples feet, and called his followers to do likewise.
A parishioner shared a story about someone she knew who participated on a mission trip, a work camp to West Virginia and was greeted by the stereotypical hillbilly with a long beard in the morning with cigarette and beer. The mission person thought, “Oh my, what am I doing here?” But as the week concluded with a shared fellowship meal and the children exclaimed, “This was the best day of my life,” he knew why he was there.
Schnase writes …
They measure the impact of their work in lives changed rather than in money sent or buildings constructed. They do mission with people of other cultures, not ministry to them. People come first, and Christ’s love for people binds them to one another and to their task (Cultivating Fruitfulness, 68).
And so we ask ourselves, when do we recall being pushed beyond our comfort zone in ministry? To what is God calling us, individually and as a church?