Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

Ministry for dummies

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Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.—Ephesians 6:10-13 (CEV)

missile on targetI’ve mentioned a couple of times recently that my wife is currently considering a staff position as a worship leader at a new church (well, new to us, at least). Tonight, she will run her first worship practice in preparation for her try-out on Sunday. This is not so much her needing a try-out to get the job–the new church has made it clear that they want her and are standing behind her, but for her to try the job out to see if she wants to do it. Basically, for her to learn on the fly.

Let me tell you what has happened in the past month since she started considering this:

  • Some people at the new church have not reacted very well. However, some people at the new church have been awesomely encouraging.
  • Some people at our old church have not reacted very well. However, many people at our old church have been awesomely encouraging and praying for us.
  • We had a scare at our house when the ceiling started leaking. That will happen when your youngest plugs the sink and overflows it. All is well and dry now.
  • We had a scare at a friend’s new house when our youngest wrote all over herself with marker. And their brand new walls. And their brand new furniture. Thankfully, it cleaned up and all is well.
  • We had a week of bad health for everyone in the house. I think we have a seasonal flu/cold week at our house every year, but thankfully it happened after my insurance at my new job kicked in.
  • My wife and I are both constantly wondering how we can pull this off when we are so ill-equipped to run this ministry. This constantly reminds us that we need to rely on God to equip us instead. He has provided lots of help in this area already.

I list these because one thing that I keep reminding myself throughout all this is that we have an enemy in this world, and Satan will do whatever he can do to derail the plans of God. And if there is any ministry that Satan has personal and experience with, it’s breaking up a worship ministry. And, as the Scriptures say, this is a battle against Satan, not our brothers and sisters (and children) who may be making the job harder for us.

As difficult as it may be, if it feels like the enemy is after you, then you need to keep on doing what you’re doing. We don’t understand it right now in the moment, but whatever God’s purpose is that Satan is trying to thwart, we need to stand firm in the fact that we are where God wants us to be.

Not only that, but we also have to understand that God is allowing these trials to occur. When you are in a trial, He is preparing you for whatever ministry you will have in the future where you can share that experience with others. I think because we just came out of a trial last year with my job, we are better prepared to meet this next challenge because the memory of God guiding us through the last one is so fresh.

Above all, one thing I’ve learned so far that you can learn from as well is to pray for the leaders in your church. Pray for the pastors and elders and deacons and office staff and Sunday morning servants and whoever else is doing the will of God for your church. If there’s anything that I’ve learned so far, it’s that the people who are leading your church have a bullseye on their back.

If there’s anything I would ask, it would be along the lines of what Paul stated:

Finally, our friends, please pray for us. This will help the message about the Lord to spread quickly, and others will respect it, just as you do. Pray that we may be kept safe from worthless and evil people. After all, not everyone has faith. But the Lord can be trusted to make you strong and protect you from harm. He has made us sure that you are obeying what we taught you and that you will keep on obeying. I pray that the Lord will guide you to be as loving as God and as patient as Christ.—2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 (CEV)

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