I've come across a couple of conversations lately where sincere brothers and sisters in Christ have expressed a deep sense of inadequacy in fulfilling a leadership role in our church family.
"How can I be a small group leader when I don't even have my own act together," is what I hear.
Let's talk about this for a moment. It all comes down to perception.
I think sometimes we get the idea that a small group leader is the person who "has it all together," leading a group of those who don't "have it all together."
No, no, no!
No one is ever completely "ready" for ministry.
Besides, small groups are based around relationship. We are all fellow strugglers helping those around us do the best they can - with the help of the Holy Spirit.
None of us have it "completely together."
I have often said, if you knew me the way I know me, you probably wouldn't be reading this right now. But before you click on something else, if I knew you the way you knew yourself, I probably wouldn't want you to be reading this.
As one person put it, "we are all beggars telling other beggars where to find bread."
In fact, and I have experienced this, the deepest, most fulfilling, most effective time of ministry that I have ever walked through was when I ministered through pain, or ministered through a time of deep need in my life.
That brings me to Duane and Evelyn. Evelyn just found out that she has cancer. She is going to begin chemo immediately. I talked with Duane today and he told me that they are going to go ahead and lead their small group.
I agree with that decision.
We agreed that during this season of their lives, the ministry that takes place through their pain will be powerful. That God will use them in a very, very effective way.
In our own woundedness, we can become a source of life for others.
True ministry does not end with pain, it begins with pain. For it is only, truly, as we enter into our own pain that we are able to minister to those around us.
And here's the deal. Duane and Evelyn will receive ministry in return as well.
May you enter into ministry knowing that the supreme example for us all - Jesus Christ - ministered through pain and suffering as well.
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