My dad, who was a Baptist pastor for 27 years, gave me two pieces of advice about ministry. 1) Preach what you believe, both inside and out of the pulpit. 2) Maintain your personal relationship with God, as it blossoms it will overflow to the people around you.
I was an intern in Resurrection House when my dad gave me that advice, and I have tried to follow it ever since. I believe my father’s wisdom applies not just to us ‘people of the clothe’, but also to all baptized Christians. In our baptism we are called not only to follow Christ, not only to learn his ways, but live them out each and every day. To do this we must preach what we believe and our actions must be consistent with our words. St. Francis once said we should “preach the Gospel everyday and if necessary use words.” Our actions often speak louder then our words ever will.
But we must also seek time with God everyday. We can’t be in relationship with something we don’t spend time with. We can’t learn Christ’s ways if we never see, talk to, listen to, and feel Christ in our lives. Indeed the only way—according to my dad—for us to preach what we believe, the only way for us to love or care for those around us, is through personal devotional time with God. See, it works like this, God is better at loving then we are. Furthermore, God is willing to give us more love then we need. It is this overflow that when we share it with those around us enables us to love them the way God does. It is in sharing this abundance of God’s grace given to us that we are able to glimpse the Kingdom of God.
I find the Church of the Resurrection to be an outstanding place to try and live out these pieces of paternal wisdom. First, genuiness is prided upon here. People are who they are, and we are quick to accept each others differences. But even better than that I am challenged to be disciplined in my devotional and prayer life by hearing about the prayer lives of our members. On a recent Sunday, an elder of our congregation said to me, “I get up each morning and pray for God to help me love all those I meet each day, and at the end of the day, I make sure to tell God five things I’m thankful for that day.” What a wonderful discipline that is. I could easily tell that the kindness that exudes from this gracious child of God emanated from God through her prayer life. Furthermore, it challenged me to pray more consistently, to be grateful more then I gripe, and share God’s love daily.
Come get fed at Resurrection so you can go feed. Come get loved at Resurrection so you can go and love. Come Join Us!