Thursday, July 20, 2006

there's no "i"

i think my first ministry experience spoiled me.

i became a Christian in 1997, and was part of a leadership team just a few short months later. Granted, that probably wasn't wise, and I'm sure it's only by the grace of God that I didn't do a lot of damage as a new believer.

That lapse in judgement aside, my first ministry team was awesome. Because we didn't just do ministry. We did life. We didn't just go to meetings. We went to dinner, to the movies. We didn't just go to conferences and events, we went to each others houses. We didn't just know each others spiritual gifts, we knew each others dreams. We weren't just "ministry partners", we were friends. We were in small groups together, we were in weddings together, we were at funerals together. We were in life together. I've never again had such an awesome serving experience. Over the years, I've had to accept the difficult reality that ministry is business. It's the business of God, yes, but it is business. My first ministry experience made me too idealistic for my own good. And though I know that, though I know it's too much to ask for my first experience to be the norm, I have a hard time being ok with anything else. I can accept it, but I rarely like it.

The week and 1/2 that I've been back from Amsterdam, I've come to some unexpected realizations. Like - I miss leading. I miss leading a team, and equipping them to do what they need to do. I miss teaching and training people to lead teams of their own. I miss being part of a team. I miss working toward a common goal. And yes, I know that in some respects, as Christians, we're all part of the "same team", but you know what I mean.

I don't know where God intends for me to be, or what He intends for me to do. I don't know where or how this season of preparation is meant to take place. But it's becoming clear that preparation needs to happen, because at every turn, doors are closing.

Tonight I dug out the ministry charter and business plan I wrote three years ago for my sailing ministry. And I started writing out more details. Details like what and how we'd teach. How long we'd be out at sea. I started thinking about "home base" locations. I even found the name and number of the shipyard in New York that said, three years ago, that they could build the boat I wanted. It felt good to dream. To dream and plan for a vision that I could make happen. A vision I could actually participate in executing.

So.... who wants to go sailing? :-)


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