By Guest Blogger Alicia Reagan
I sit and watch people. I can’t help it. It is in my DNA to be a complete nib nose. With that comes my horrible habit of thinking that I know everything about that person in about 5 minutes of watching them. Sometimes, I am right but most often I have completely called it all wrong.
I am a Pastor’s wife, a public speaker and a musician. I was raised in the ministry and grew up around preachers. Because of all these things, I have been in a lot of different environments and around a lot of different churches and pastors. There is something I have witnessed that greatly disturbs me.
I have witnessed some of these men telling their congregations to make sure that they share Christ. They implore them to witness, leave Gospel tracts, be faithful to church stuff and looks for ways to be a good testimony. You are around them in their daily life while they pastor a church. Then, they are not pastoring and they are suddenly the ones that are not faithful! They won’t show up for any sort of outreach. They don’t share Christ in their daily lives. They barely share a smile anymore! It takes me back and I find myself questioning their sincerity. Did they say one thing while they were the Pastor, and then live another way when they were not?
I do not want you to get the wrong impression that I see the negative often. I do not. But I have seen it enough that it bothers me. It grips my soul with a haunting question: do I market Jesus?
My husband and I love the ministry. My husband has given his life to the ministry. It is his calling. Ministry is not a career choice. Or is it? Do we love Jesus and show Him to others? Or, do we market Jesus to grow our own spiritual empires? Do we use the church to be personally successful? Is our success dependent on a good marketing campaign? Am I a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or am I the CEO of a growing church? These are real questions that must be at the heart of every one of us who are in ministry.
In the ministry of Jesus, we never find Him touting WhoHe was. He praised His Father.
In the ministry of Jesus, we never find Him bragging on His position. He took on the form of a servant.
In the ministry of Jesus, we never see Him acting better than anyone else. He took time and focused on all of the outcasts of the societal totem pole.
In the ministry of Jesus, people were always at the heart of all He did. He did not just speak it. He lived it out in front of them.
In the ministry of Jesus, He did not come up with new campaigns to bring them in. He went out among them.
In the ministry of Jesus, He did not worry about them remembering His anniversary, or if they thought about His raise, or if they were going to honor Pastor Appreciation Month. He worried about them not being followers of God.
I am afraid that many times, we have built “the ministry” into a noun and not a verb. It has become our identity instead of our description. It has turned into what others can do for me, instead of what am I doing for them. It has become my career instead of my passion. It has centered around me and not Jesus. Jesus has become the marketing platform for me to end up successful…in the ministry.
Jesus is not for sale. I believe His example in the New Testament, of turning over the money changers in the Temple, should provide a good example to us of His feelings about trying to market the things of God.
I love to see a genuine love for Christ…with no strings attached…flow out of a Jesus follower just because they love Him. I love being with precious Pastors who also let the love of Jesus flow out of them to others. I love to watch them love on others in practical ways which have nothing to do with adding to the attendance of their congregation. I am more interested in a Pastor outside of his church than I am inside it.
Jesus will build His church and we are to stay faithful. That is what is required of His followers. If Jesus is lifted up, He will draw men unto Himself. Success cannot even be measured in the ministry, for many of our rewards are eternal and will not be seen until we face our Savior. When we focus on a false definition of success, our pride will take us down every time.
Am I sharing Christ because I love Him and He changes lives? If so, that will happen no matter what your position in life. Or, am I sharing Christ so that I can reap the benefits of a larger congregation? If so, that will only last as long as you are the one trying to grow the attendance.
We must be alert to our motives. Instead of selling Jesus to build “our” ministry, let’s minister and show Him to others.
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Find all articles in the series here.
This guest by my wife is the second time she has written one of the Truth Revolution articles. She often gives me ideas and helps talk to many who write us. I appreciate her help and suggest you check out her own fine blog aliciareagan.wordpress.com