Monday, February 25, 2008

Ministry Mindset

I work for my church, doing two completely separate jobs.

As the Office Assistant, I publish stuff. The weekly bulletin, the monthly newsletter. It's super fun. I love it.

As the Worship Administrator, I coordinate 47 volunteer musicians and music lovers, I'm the music librarian, I attend and/or lead various rehearsals, I play piano/keyboard in a couple of bands, I participate in planning meetings, I organize and communicate each Sunday's order of service to all participants, and I design each Sunday's slide shows. It's super fun. I love it.

One of the defining characteristics of my job, especially the worship music portion, is feedback. We receive A LOT of feedback.

Why?

Because worship in song is very intimate. God provided music to enable us to commune with Him in a very unique way. Of all the ways there are to commune with God, music is my favorite.

Most of our congregation feels just as passionate as I do about their opportunity to commune with God through music.

So the feedback we receive from individuals in our congregation is borne from their deep desire to be intimate with their Abba sans distraction.

Typically, however, we only receive feedback when their deep desire has not been realized, or when their passion has not been given the expression they crave.

In other words, the majority of the feedback we receive centers around what we shoulda, coulda, woulda done differently.

The problem is that those giving feedback don't really agree with each other. :-) The music is too loud. The music is too soft. We need more drums. We have too much drum presence. We need more hymns. We need less hymns. And on and on.

I care deeply about giving people an opportunity to experience intimacy with God in a corporate setting. So I found myself becoming quickly overwhelmed and discouraged when my best efforts to serve those people were met with...feedback. *sigh*

But my faithful God has been showing me about the need to change my motivation before I cause myself to shrivel up and abandon my ministry. This past Saturday, my buddy Oswald crystallized what God's been trying to tell me. It applies to anyone involved in any kind of service to God:

Paul's idea of service was to pour his life out to the last drop for others. And whether he received praise or blame made no difference. As long as there was one human being who did not know Jesus, Paul felt a debt of service to that person until he did come to know Him.

But the chief motivation behind Paul's service was not love for others but love for his Lord.

If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people.

But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another.

--Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, Feb 23.

I want to be a woman whose service to others is fueled by love for my Abba, who loves me with an everlasting love, as if I were the only one to love.