Friday, July 31, 2009

Uncomfortable Ministry

I don't like swimming. Never have, even as a kid. I have this weird fear of drowning. So having a huge pool party for the junior high students a few weeks ago wasn't really up my alley. Neither was going boating with a group of junior high staff about a month ago. I'm okay with staying on the boat, just not getting out of it unless I'm on land.

I also don't like basketball. It's like I'm not athletic. I played soccer growing up, and I can hold my own in every other sport I play. It's just basketball; I'm terrible at it. So this past week's Hoops Camp that we hosted for 70 children and 40 junior high students wasn't really in my comfort zone. Why not a "discuss independent foreign films" camp, or a "eat lots of pizza" camp?

In ministry, it's not about me or my comfort level. It's not always about what I think would be the most fun activity. It's about building Christlike relationships with people, and I'll do just about anything next to sin to foster those relationships. Even swimming and basketball. Somehow God seems to use my incredible discomfort for His glory. And I think I'm comfortable with that.

Any uncomfortable things you've done for the sake of relationship?


  1. I love this reminder, thank you. And I think it is surprisingly counter-cultural to willingly do something you don't love for ministry.

    My most obvious example would be taking 25 girls on a "date" to see Shakespeare. It wasn't my thing and it made my female leaders chuckle... Who all went as well... But it was one of those object lessons that I could only use if they were there with me. Totally worth it. But also 5 miles outside my comfort zone.

  2. Adam, that's quite a date! Very cultured. I once took a group of junior highers to High School Musical 3. That's almost like Shakespeare, right? :)

  3. Joel,

    Thanks for writing this. I am starting a new season in ministry and have several new projects in my lap that are WAY OUT of my comfort zone. I was feeling a little stressed and discouraged and found your writing a great reminder about why I am in ministry! Thanks bro!

  4. Sign me up for one of your alternate camps.

  5. My "ministry discomfort" is happening right now - having to be very forward and vocal inviting people to our new church. Just having that constant evangelistic mindset is hard for me, but soooo good too.

  6. Chris and Melissa, keep it uncomfortable! Jesus seems to do some pretty amazing things through our awkwardness and shortcomings.

    Brian, you and I are starting a "eat pizza and watch foreign films" summer camp. We'll each weigh 400 pounds by the end of camp, but it'll be totally worth it. :)