Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Inadequacy versus gospel


So, I've got half a dozen half finished posts on my life and how things have been for the last five months.

They mostly relate to the challenge I've had of finding work, of living on the smell of an oily rag, and on the challenge to be content with all of this, and to trust God in the middle of it.

It's been a hard road, and I'm not expecting it to get easier anytime soon, but I'm learning a lot from it, and I guess that's a good thing. So I'm going to keep on going, while nutting through more big questions than I've ever had to deal with in my life before.

I mean, there's only, like, two or three of them, but that's a 300% increase on big questions I'm wrestling with seriously, so it's keeping me sharp.

This blog post is about one of those questions.

See, one of the challenges I'm having with my life at the moment is, do I consider full-time ministry?

And I've got this big mental list of reasons for and against - it's a list of concerns and hopes and all it has really done is put more questions into my head.

I mean,

I'm concerned that I'm not at the perceived standard I need to be at to consider full-time ministry. I struggle with reading my bible every day. I think the last time I tried to have a gospel conversation with someone was about a year ago. I don't have a whole lot of non-Christian friends, or at least, not a lot that I have regular face-to-face contact with. It's difficult to have a conversation about Jesus and then invite said person to church when they live in Sydney, or on the other side of the world. I'm scared to share the gospel, despite the fact that I know enough to do so. I do what I can with ministry already, but can see my limits in what I have time to do, and the level of responsibility I can handle/am given reflects where I am, which doesn't feel like 'ready to take on an apprenticeship position at church'.

I'm concerned that I'd let the perceived status of the position go to my head. That the childlike equation of 'Church worker therefore competent/zealous/'perfect' Christian' would stay fixed, and I wouldn't be able to dispel it. I'd have to face off against the inside of my head and the challenge of making my relationship with God faith-based and not works-based - which has been a constant challenge in my life, and probably one of the marks of inheritance I received from the denomination my parents used to serve in.

I'm concerned that I'm thinking about full-time ministry because I can't expect to find work anywhere else, and would be hoping to find work in the church, but at the same time, be helping in the small ways that go unnoticed and don't require me to wander too far from my shell. I mean, everyone needs a supply runner, right? I can do admin stuff and not have to be called to task; be called to the hardest and pointiest parts of Gospel work.

These among others are my concerns. They're buds, small things that I can see as problems in my life that could interfere with Gospel work, if left unchecked.

It's a big list of what-ifs and maybes and potential negatives, and I don't really have a list equal in size to balance it. I do have these thoughts though.

When I was doing WAVE this year; when I was part of FORGE last year, I felt the purpose and the urgency of the gospel. I was part of something bigger, and we moved with purpose, and learned with purpose, and I could tell, that if there was something worthwhile in my life that I could do - really, actually worthwhile, then perhaps Ministry would be it.

I felt that if I threw my life at the gospel, then maybe it would be worthwhile. I was finishing my uni degree, realising that it was coming to an end and that once it was finished, I would be unleashed on a world that really didn't give two squats about my work or my life. None of it would really change the world. None of what I could make with my own hands would exist after I was gone, if that.

But what of ministry? What if I could do something that would have an impact beyond the here and now?

It's always been a challenge looking at things and holding eternity next to them, but I didn't have the same sense of uselessness looking at this in that way.

What does that lead me to now?

I'm still thinking through things. I'm quiet, so it's difficult to talk about something this big to any one person, particularly, as you can see, because the concepts I'm dealing with are half-formed; unfinished. I'm dealing with a lot of maybe and not much solid-state stuff. I don't trust my heart, or at least, I'm very cautious about chasing after a perceived notion.

I'm aware that doing an apprenticeship in church ministry would break me from the inside out. I'm aware that it would cause me to feel a lot of pain, and a lot of joy, and a lot of gospel.

But I think I'm prepared for that notion. To have the fairy-tale and the 'oh, they're an MTS-er, they have their Christian walk all together' blown wide open. I don't know if I'm capable of it though. I don't know if anyone would want me for the task.

(That's not passive-aggressive or anything, by the way. I'm genuinely looking at my faults and knowing them, concerned that I'm vastly inadequate for the task and wondering if I should try now or build up some more skills and try later.)

I know that we grow to the tank we're in, and that while I'm inadequate now, I'm hoping that maybe that would change if I went down this path. Maybe I would grow to what was required, if I was willing. Anyway.

It seems hypocritical to say 'I can't talk to any one person about this' and then blog it, but I think it's easier to blog thoughts. I'm taking you through a narrative, where we start with one set of thoughts, and then go through a process, and then end up at a conclusive point. I'm taking you through the inside of my head, on a well-worn path, pointing out the things that are problems and then devoting half a breath to why I'm still thinking though it.

Because in spite of my fears and concerns, I really can't think of anything more worthwhile to do with my life than to throw it at the gospel. That might be in ministry, or it might be in something else. I'm just trying to work that out at the moment.

It's not "I can't think of anything better, so I may as well do ministry", it's "I can't think of anything objectively better to do with my life than ministry". I know they read similar, but understand that there's tone required to make the difference between the two, and writing in text can't convey that.

I don't have a lot, but I want Jesus to do something with it.

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