The Preacher Girls are happy to host Ryan Beaty’s Seven Days of Awesome Blogs…hope you enjoy!
by Ryan Beaty
How often recently have you read an article in an online media outlet, whether it was Charisma, Relevant, or the Huffington Post that started a little like this:
“Seven Ways Evangelicalism is Losing Millenials”?
Or, “Nine Reasons High Churches are Missing the Point”?
How about, “Ten Things the Church Puts Before People”?
You read every one of them didn’t you? Why? Because we want to make sure we aren’t guilty. We want to make sure our church isn’t guilty. We want to make sure the church down the street is guilty. And we want to validate our feelings about all of those who are guilty.
But really, how did it make you feel five minutes later? The answer: like crap.
It makes us feel like that because Christ said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 ESV)
So where is the love? Where is the encouragement? And before you start thinking or saying that your comments about others are prophetic warnings, let us remember how the apostle Paul defined prophetic speech, “…the one who prophesies speaks to people for their up-building and encouragement and consolation.” (1 Corinthians 14:3 ESV)
So, for the next seven days I am giving you the love! You’re getting the encouragement you need and the Holy Spirit wants you to have. So let’s get started.
Today’s blog is for all the ministers out there. The pastors and missionaries. The priests and rectors. The curates, superintendents, bishops, and interns. This one’s for you.
Four Reasons I know You are an Awesome Minister!
- You Love God.
The idea seems almost patronizing, doesn’t it? I mean, a lot of people love God. As a matter of fact the majority of the people on the planet claim to love God. Around 1/3 of them claim to love our God. So it’s not like it’s exclusive company.
But you love Him with a deep passion. You are animated by His Spirit. You seek His face. His words burn like fire inside of you to offer your all and fullest self to Him just like in Christ He offered His all and fullest self to us. You know what He has done for you and what He wants to do in others. You have seen what He can do in others.
Your love for Him drives you to become a better you. To grow in depth and grace. To never stop learning more about Him, His ways, or the scriptures. Your love for Him causes you to keep learning, to keep challenging your beliefs because you want to make sure you know Him deeply because He is love and wisdom, the source of all life and truth.
To know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to serve Him.
- You Love People.
It has often been said by ministers that, “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people.” I don’t care for that or that some ministers say it. This is the people business. We are called to care for God’s people as under-shepherds. We take on a holy calling and a high responsibility to help people grow. If we don’t like people then we aren’t any good to them or God.
But you, you like people. Sure they can be stressful at times. But hey, who can’t? I’m sure there has been a time or two your family members have made you a little nutty, and you still love them. Even the weird ones you only see at holidays. Church people are no different. The vast majority of them have no agendas other than to love God and live out their faith the best they know how. But we’re all imperfect, even in our loving of God and each other. So we mess up. They mess up. Things get stressful or annoying but we forgive and move on.
And its funny, that even in our own little quirks and differences, we find knew ways to love and serve people regularly. Whether introvert or extrovert, love has no personality barrier. We love people because we are in the people business. Or, should I say, we are in the people business because we love God and people.
- You Volunteered for the Hardest Job on the Planet.
Nobody chooses this job. The job chooses them. Why? Because it’s not a job, it’s a vocation, a calling. It’s an opportunity to affect, infect, and effect the lives of people with help, hope, and healing all the while being obedient to the God of the universe. That’s a lot of joy but its also a lot of pressure to live up to.
With most other jobs you clock out at the end of the day and be done. Not this job. This job is 24/7 whenever people or God needs you. Both will wake you up in the middle of the night. Both will interrupt your day. Both will throw you curveballs that you never saw coming. Both have expectations of you.
I thank God often that I am a minister today and not an Old Testament priest. At least today I won’t get stoned for doing something wrong! Though, with FaceBook around today, sometimes I long for a nice big rock.
The job is often thankless and regularly tiring. People burn out all the time. But it goes back to the first two reasons you are an awesome minister; you love God and people. So you keep doing it, and you’re going to keep doing it. And as hard as it gets at times and as thankless as it can be and as hurtful as you can feel you remember one thing, the Kingdom of God is bigger than me.
- If You Could, You’d do this Job for Free. (And you often do!)
Most people never realize how much we give to be church leaders. Most of us could make more money, a lot more money, elsewhere. We definitely could have less stressful lives. We could take jobs that wouldn’t subject our family members or ourselves to nasty comments and unrealistic expectations.
But for us it’s not about the money. It’s not about the ease of life. And for we blessed ministers who have planted churches, chosen to revitalize dying ones, or just allowed ourselves to be elected/appointed to smaller ones, we know all too well how much its not about the money or ease of life.
Remember those months (maybe you are living one right now!) when it was your tithe check from your second or third job that paid the church mortgage or kept the lights on? And as you are at the power company paying that electric bill on your own personal credit card, remember when you wondered for the fleetest of moments whether or not you should quit and do something else? But then you sucked it up, paid the bill and went on to your next hospital visit.
YOU ARE AWESOME! You deserve so much more than applause or money or fame or respect or acknowledgement. But you also know that you may never get those things and you are fine with it because of what you know you will get one day. Six words that made it all worth it: Well done, good and faithful servant.
I hope that at the very least you feel encouraged and maybe even a little validated. You are not alone. You are not abandoned. You are who God called. And you are loved.
Stay excellent, and I will see you tomorrow.
Ryan Beaty is the founding pastor of VillageHouston, an Assemblies of God church located in urban Houston, TX. He is an avid reader, pop-culture nerd, and theology honk. He and his wife, Korista, live in urban Houston where Ryan also serves as the chaplain of an Episcopalian day school.