Near-sighted and far-sighted ministry

I’m learning a lot this year from organizing the NCF Black History Celebration (this Saturday night. 6pm, NO COVER!). It’s been frustration and stressful at times, but I have also been greatly encouraged by the enthusiasm of our musicians and volunteers. It’s been a process that has forced me to get my focus on both the near-sighted and far-sighted aspects of ministry.

Near-sighted ministry

Sometimes, the best thing for me to do is focus on the immediate circumstance and situation. Who am I talking to right now? What do they need for me to do for them? How can I encourage or support them? What needs to be accomplished with this rehearsal/interaction? I can tend to become overwhelmed with all the details that have to be addressed; I become panicked about my inability to catch every detail. The Spirit is teaching me to take each moment as it is, and to trust Him enough to not become anxious or fearful. This past weekend, I felt like I had invited a crowd of people to a party and then realized that I didn’t have enough food for everyone. I knew that some people would feel neglected and disappointed with my lack of preparation. It was my sin taking control of the situation and bringing a sense of guilt. The Spirit spoke to me on Sunday to get my focus back on the small view of the kingdom…a cup of cold water…a mustard seed…a simple trusting and following the Shepherd’s lead.

Far-sighted ministry

When I look at the weekend by itself, I can become obsessed with performance. The priority shifts to producing an excellent performance. This makes me frustrated with the inconsistency of volunteers, the weaknesses of amateur musicians, or my own inability to lead well and make things work. Yesterday, I was having a special rehearsal with one musician, and the Spirit spoke to me about the long-term benefits that this weekend will have on this individual. Because he is part of this weekend’s event, he will grow in his playing, his practicing, his trust in Christ, his musicianship, his worship expressions, his leadership skills. If I focus on just this weekend being the best performance possible, I am temped to “fire” all the volunteers and hire pros to make everything sound perfect and run smoothly. Working with volunteers in the church who are growing every week, I have to be far-sighted and appreciate that each time they play they are growing in their sanctification and their skills.

Jesus’ Ministry

Jesus was always working in this way. He had a small view of the kingdom that would give him the patience to sit down with the woman at the well and chat or allow children to come sit on his lap. He was not driven by a big agenda to save the world in just 3 years. He taught us that the kingdom is about small acts of justice and kindness. But, Jesus also had a big view of the whole picture of what he was doing with his ministry. He was so patient with the disciples each time they said or did boneheaded things. Jesus knew that the process of preparing them for the coming kingdom would take time. He trusted his Father that the big picture goals were more more important than getting caught up in the stress of making each interaction successful. If he didn’t keep the ultimate redemption in view, he would have never taken the road to the suffering and defeat of the cross.

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  1. #1 by Emma on February 19, 2010 - 7:59 am

    Kirk,
    We’ve been discussing in our Sunday School class the use of music in worship and how different denominations few songs, instruments, etc.
    I think that in all conversations like this we need to keep in mind what you’re saying here. Where is our focus? Because if it’s any where other than Christ’s Kingdom and God’s glory, we need to re-evaluate ourselves.
    Great post.

  2. #2 by Melanie on February 19, 2010 - 5:56 pm

    I agree, great post, Kirk. Helped me remember that Jesus is the source of strength for all of my weaknesses, and patient with me in my bonehead-edness. 🙂 Big picture= all to glorify Him. Thanks.

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