You might know that in February of this year I joined a church plant in CDA, Idaho. I am the weekend service coordinator at our church, so I basically oversee and plan everything that happens during our Sunday service. Gosh, it has been so much fun. Our church brings me so much joy! I have never experienced the feeling of having such a deep love for a church until now. I have LOVED meeting new people and building a new church family, and seeing the growth and change in me personally has been so cool. God is just so good.
On the other end of it, church planting has been incredibly difficult. One of the hardest things I have ever done in my life, actually. You see, I went from a well-established church of thousands of people and tons of resources to a mobile church of about 115. Every weekend there is a new kink to work out or a new issue to address, and quite frankly, sometimes I just have no idea how to fix it. Ministry feels so much more transparent now. So much more humbling.
This weekend was especially challenging. I experienced ministry in a whole new way. I had already had a really long weekend. Working two jobs, bachelorette party, last minute prep for church. I was exhausted. On top of all of that, our team was facing something very difficult on Sunday. I found myself in tears on my way to church. I didn't know how to lead through the tiredness and pain. I was broken. I called on Jesus to be my strength and He got me through the morning and then through a long busy shift at the restaurant. I didn't really even have time to process the day or take a breath until I crawled into bed, and by then I was so tired that I just passed out.
Which brings me to today. The calm after the storm. Waking up and finally having a moment to process it all... to let it all sink in. This morning the Lord brought me back to a quote that I wrote down in my journal a long time ago. It says,
"Ministry is more than hard. Ministry is impossible. And unless we have a fire inside our bones compelling us, we simply will not survive." -Mark Driscoll
Reading that quote led me to also read Luke 24. Jesus had just resurrected and the tomb was found empty. We see two men walking to Emmaus and discussing the current events of Jesus' death when Jesus appears to them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. Verse 21 says, "But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened." These men had lost hope. They had given up. Their ministry seemed as though it was all in vain. Their current pain of the situation had led them to forget all of the things that the Prophets had spoken about Jesus death and resurrection. Verse 27 says, "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he (Jesus) interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." Fast forward to verse 32, 'They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?"'. It clicked. They realized that he was Jesus and that he actually had risen! It says that they rose and returned to Jerusalem to tell the eleven disciples about what had happened.
So many times in life, and in ministry especially, we let our current pains lead us into forgetfulness of who Jesus really is and what he did for us. We have to be reminded over and over again that Jesus died and is the fire that lives within us. The fire that compels us to keep doing ministry even in the hardest of times, even when He seems unrecognizable. I am realizing that ministry really isn't just hard. It's beyond hard. It's impossible. But we have JESUS! Jesus is what keeps up going! Jesus is our power! I experienced Him strengthening me yesterday when it felt like I couldn't keep going. He was my fire just like he was the fire inside of the men on the road to Emmaus.
Keep turning to Jesus to be your fire. The fire that he puts inside of us is the only one that will never burn out. He is so good.