A little over 18 years ago, just 6 months married and working full-time as an emergency nurse, my husband and I found ourselves leading a church. No one was more surprised than us.
We discovered the only way would actually survive this journey was within community. The C3 tribe quickly became our family, which we now love and are dedicated to.
From the moment we were welcomed at our first pastors gathering by Ps John & Danielle Pearce (from whom we had just claimed the title of “youngest pastors in the movement”), to having Greg French help demolish our kitchen on a visiting ministry weekend, we soon realised that ministry was a “whole of life” experience!
We have learned so much, but there is, however, one piece of advice that to this day resonates. It’s advice that I embrace and resist with equal fervor. It challenges me, empowers me and, perhaps a little surprisingly, has come from the guy with whom I have walked hand-in-hand in ministry for almost two decades. It’s advice we have shared with many a wide-eyed, fresh-faced leader and is often met with reactions of surprise, uncertainty, disagreement, and even sheer relief.
“Ministry will take everything you give it, so don’t give it everything.” My husband, Nick Hind.
Ok, before you get your hackles up, let me clarify:
In Acts 6 the disciples are counseled to spend time on the right things. The believers found themselves at a stage of rapid growth and growing complexity. The needs seemed endless and they were learning the lesson that every Pastor will face: there is and always will be something else to do – something urgent, something unavoidable.
We would be foolish to think that success in ministry is defined by the hours we give it.
And yet we can easily live as if just a little bit more time or effort will make all the difference. The challenge is that, as Ps John Pearce says, “there’s always something”!
So if there is always something, then perhaps too, like the disciples, we need to take the time to allow God to be the focus, allow Him to guide us in how we spend each of these precious moments we are given by Him.
There will always be more needed – the demand is endless – so we need to be wise about what we give out, and how we manage ourselves through the many seasons ahead of us.
Here in Canberra, Australia, I see the changing of seasons. Summer has lost its power over the cool dew mornings, the Autumn colors are thinly spread amongst the trees, Winter’s barrenness and dormancy will soon unfold as we allow creation to rest around us.
Each season has a purpose: to rest or to grow; to lay dormant or to produce. Every season shapes the way we live, the way we move through our days. Seasons of full-time work, bi-vocational work, having young children, older children, empty nesting…
Seasons are the way God has designed life.
Taking a moment to reflect on the season that has been, to prepare and embrace the season ahead, will keep us in step with God’s purpose and plan. A regular habit of reflection empowers us to continue to grow. It allows us a moment to reassess, prepare. It allows us to navigate the wrestle we find in the statement, “ministry will take everything you give it, so don’t give it everything.”