Photo by K.L.R.
*Written approximately four months ago*
It’s ok, breathe, I didn’t just speak heresy.
“Ministry” is a word thrown around to describe something a person or group does to help other people…typically in the name of God.
For some reason people feel it is necessary to label that part of life, rather than considering it simply “working with high school students” or “helping single moms” or “meeting with a group of friends…who may or may not be Christians” or some other activity you do throughout your day, week, month, year in order to have a life that is not centered strictly around you.
We all live life.
But, life is not divided into a lot of squares.
Life is a mish-mash of running errands, going to work, spending time with friends and family, cleaning the house, helping your neighbor, running food to someone who needs it, going to church (or another religious gathering place, if you are religious), involving yourself in that place…ultimately, life is functioning as a part of a community and doing what is necessary in your particular place.
Back to why I hate the “M” word.
It evokes images of people giving of themselves, holding themselves above others, and making people(s) into a project that they can help/fix/change/whatever.
In college, we were required for three semesters to have some “ministry.” Then, for the following three semesters, it was a degree specific “ministry” (or internship…a little more open to interpretation). I fell under the false idea that if I was enjoying myself I couldn’t count the hours…because, God forbid I enjoy what I was doing…after all, it was “ministry.”
Now, one year, eight months, and seventeen days after graduating, I find myself hating the word even more.
Why do I need to label something I do?
Am I supposed to call it ministry every time I hang out with my high school students (who, by the way, I adore)?
Am I supposed to call it ministry when I take food to a family who is low?
What about those kids who come from a not so great home, should I make it my life goal to fix them and make up for the deficit left by their parents?
No. I love to hang out with my kids. We have a good time together…we laugh, joke, and sometimes share deeper conversations.
That family? It’s called being a human and caring for someone’s well being.
And the kid who doesn’t have a great home? Please, let me provide an escape for them! Need a getaway? I can be that.
But what is my motivation? I love people. I care about their well being. I want to be friends with a variety of people.
I do not want to invite people into my life for the purpose of giving me a “project.”
Instead of ministry, I live life.
I’m supposed to love God and love others.