Often godly marketplace leaders have wondered what a transition to some type of ministry role would look like. In the last decade I have had countless conversations with these leaders who have wondered what their lives would look like if they transitioned to a church staff or other ministry role. When I served as an executive pastor in Miami, we brought several men and women on staff that previously served as marketplace leaders. In my role as one of the vice-presidents at LifeWay, we hire people from both the local church and the marketplace.
Most of the time people come into a ministry role with an accurate picture of what to expect. They are committed to the mission, realize that everything won’t be perfect, and there is a lot of work to do. But sometimes people come into a ministry role with some misconceptions that can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Here are three:
1. Daily Group Devotions
While a team in ministry should absolutely pray and look at the Scripture together, some imagine this will be a prominent aspect of every day, as if the staff team is compensated to be in one large ongoing small group. The reality is that a ministry benefits from people who show up each day already in the Word, already walking with the Lord, already surrendered to Him. If you need a church staff meeting to provide you with your time in God’s Word, don’t join the staff.
2. No Conflict
Marketplace leaders often report conflict at work filled with office politics, backstabbing, and ladder climbing. So some reason that ministry roles must not be plagued with conflict and tension. But we still live in a world where we daily face the implications of sin. There are still relational conflicts and struggles. And not all conflict is sinful. Often conflict can be healthy and sanctifying as strong leaders sharpen one another.
3. Increased Gratitude
Marketplace leaders know that people they serve are often not grateful. In fact, the world can be rude and snarky. A recent Wendy’s twitter reaction caught some attention because the person running social media called out the craziness of the troll who was calling Wendy’s a liar for saying their meat was fresh when it is not delivered on a hot truck. Wendy’s responded with, “Where do you store cold things that aren’t frozen?”
People can wrongly think that if they serve in ministry, the people who are served will often be filled with gratitude. And this is just not true. The people we serve are in need of more and more sanctification, just like we are. And when lack of gratitude for the grace of God decreases, grumbling and complaining increases. This should not be discouraging, however, because the Lord uses people in ministry for this very reason—to call others to lift their eyes to Christ.