True Ministry

Last night, we had one of our best times of “participatory church” as we seamlessly shared a meal, partook of communion, fellowshipped and ministered one with another — and none of it depended on me!

The last several weeks have been very emotionally and physically exhausting for me. On top of my best friend dying, I’ve been struggling to keep up with my various professional and counseling commitments while concurrently experiencing a particularly bad bout of chronic fatigue from my autoimmune condition.

As yesterday morning dawned, I started feeling anxious because I just wasn’t feeling up to “overseeing” that evening’s fellowship. I was empty, and felt I had nothing to give. As the day progressed, however, God kept gently assuring me that our unassuming fellowship wasn’t my church and it wasn’t my responsibility to insure that ministry happened.

Logically, I already knew that. But attitudinally it is easier to take the man out of the “podium church” than it is to take the “podium church” out of the man.

It is hard sometimes to fully shake the “podium church” impulse of thinking that I am the sole proprietor over the flock that God has entrusted to me, and that I must insure that we put on a good “God show” each week so folks will keep coming back.

By 6 pm, when people started arriving, I had finally chilled out and felt at peace over not needing to have a teaching all prepared and ready to go, and not needing to be the spark that made things happen. In other words, God had me right where he wanted me — empty, needy and unable to get in the way of what he wanted to do!

My fiance took over the meal preparation as she put some of her great, home made pizzas in the oven. Others, without being asked, started pitching in to help with this and that, while greeting each other and excitedly catching up on what was happening in everyone’s lives.

As we ate, one of our young men in his mid-twenties took the initiative to lead us in communion. He gave a beautiful, impromptu encouragement, lasting about 10 minutes, about how no one hates his own body and how we are the body of Christ. Thus, Jesus loves us and through communion he strengthens and nourishes us — his body. It so ministered to my own soul and spirit that I teared up listening to him.

Others then started sharing what God had been showing them and doing with them over the last week, and again it was right all relevant to my struggles over the last several weeks.

One of our mom’s in the faith, who’s also a strong intercessory warrior, shared how God’s been showing her that much of what passes for intercession and prayer these days is really just projecting our own fears and anxieties onto God (which is OK, but we can’t stop there), rather than getting through to the heart and mind of God so we can advance his agenda.

That too deeply resonated with me, given my self-consumed crying out to God lately for him to sooth my angst, rather than seeking his will.

Through the evening, God used his people — one after another — to unknowingly minister to me and to assure me that he cared for me and that it was his good will and pleasure to be my provider, even though I don’t understand the who, what, when or where of how that will happen.

Towards the end of our time together, I again teared up as I shared a dream I had.

I’m not a person who normally dreams. Maybe twice a year I’ll have a dream that makes an impact on me, and that I actually remember.

But the other night I dreamed that two of the young men in our church, years from now, invited me to come minister at a conference they had organized in their own country. They did it to honor me as someone God had used, now at this time in their lives, as a spiritual father.

In my dream, I stood in the back of the conference and saw the precious fruit their lives were bearing as others treated them with respect as men who, in turn, had become spiritual fathers. In my dream, as I watched them interact with others at the conference, I realized that they had surpassed me in the faith. And I felt so humbled, grateful, honored and complete.

Last night, I began to taste some of that same precious fruit as I saw God increase, through others, as I decreased. I saw that it truly is not all up to me. My role is simply to walk in whatever measure of grace I have at the moment, and to let God bring others into their own gifting and grace.

The ministry that occurred last night was some of the best we’ve experienced because I was able to lay aside the impulse — despite logically knowing otherwise — to assume it all depends on me. In fact, rather than me ministering,  much of the meeting was others unknowingly ministering to me as I admitted my own limitations and let them come forth.

Now that’s authentic church!

(c) Copyright 2010, Fulcrum Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

6 responses

  1. I was there and I totally agree with you! Having the freedom to share the way the Lord had ministered to me last week at the Chaplains” conference in Dallas was so refreshing and fulfilling for me. But better still was the impartation I received from all the anointed words and songs of worship that flowed from the others. And your teaching on the advancement of the Kingdom of God was incredible. It just proves that when you are in tune and communication with God on a daily basis, His word will flow out without notes or preparation and it will minister life to His church. We were lifed last night, Jim, and that life will nourish and sustain us for whatever we face in the days, months and years ahead. I don’t know where I could go to experience this kind of freedom and anointing. God bless you for opening up your home and making a way for this to happen!

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  2. LOVE IT! That is so awweeesoommmee….

    Sorry you had such a rough time in your personal life; but I’m awed at the Lord using the others to minister to you without you knowing!

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  3. I was there too! I mentioned at this meeting that before I had come to this church I didn’t know what worship meant. Some expressed surprise because we didn’t usually spend a lot of time in the “worship” experience that you would find in other churches, but as I reflected on my own words later I realized that in this church, I have come to understand that worship is each believer stretching out with his understanding, his insight, his gifts — reaching out and sharing with one another everything that God has given us to share: our voices, our words, our food, our money, our encouragement, our delights, our sorrows. This Table Church, in a short time, has become the place I can’t wait to visit again. It is a new kind of sanctuary — the kind that God had in mind when he told us that we each were part of the structure, and He is the cornerstone. Thank you for opening your home, Jim, and for sharing your vision.

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  4. Wasn’t there, LOL, but I’ve shared a similar experience, helping out a friend spiritually and seeing her totally get the credit. What a blessing, our reward being the fruit we help produce, totally through the power of the Holy Spirit. Hope I will continue the walk the invisible way, just helping, serving, no accolades needed thanks, except to one day see Him face to face!

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  5. Pingback: Becoming The Body of Christ | Crossroad Junction

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