The best and worst of ministry

If I were asked (and often am…), “What is the best/worst part of being in ministry?” the answer is simple. The best and worst part of being in ministry is the same thing: people.

   People are the best thing about ministry because I get to see people who are far from God awakened with life in Christ. I get to watch a new or stagnant Christ-follower make the tough choices that separate them from who they were and who they are in Christ. I get to see God work in unique and powerful ways. Hurt people learn to forgive, selfish people learn generosity, and the work of God moves on. People are easily the greatest, most rewarding thing, not just in ministry, but in life as a whole.

   But people are also the hardest part of ministry! People can be mean, unforgiving, hypocritical, arrogant, and beligerent. And that’s just from some people that claim to follow Jesus! I’ve seen people that we have poured our lives into betray us and hurt us. I’ve had people that I thouht were committed to the work God was doing at our church leave us for the new “cool” ministry down the road. A blow to any leader’s emotions. I’ve watched other church leaders run off on their spouse. And perhaps the most frustrating, watching someone attend every week, go through the motions, but never take hold of the life Christ is waiting for them to step into. They “have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof.” It’s like getting married and then going back to the way you lived before you met your spouse.

   But for every frustration, heartache, and let-down, the joy that comes from seeing a life genuinely changed is worth it. You can’t get into a fight without expecting to get dirty. Life and ministry are messy! But nothing worthwhile is ever easy. And people are worth it!

John