My husband and I have been in ministry for all of our 25 years of marriage. Although I came from non-Christian home, my husband, Scott is the product of a pastor and marriage and family counselor. I entered ministry with idealistic (and let’s face it, unrealistic) expectations. I didn’t expect all bunny rabbits and rainbows, but I was not prepared for the tough seasons ahead of us when we started our journey.
In our first church, there were those who tried to oust the senior pastor in a very unbiblical manner.
Our second ministry was quite lovely; they loved us through miscarriages, heartache, and a huge learning curve for which Bible college did not prepare us.
In our third ministry, the senior pastor had an affair with the secretary after he fired my husband, and subsequently, lost the rest of the staff due to his behavior.
In our next ministry, we helped birth a church. Which was awesome, but hard, since we had also just birthed our firstborn.
After that, we served at a church that we loved and thrived in, until the senior pastor had an affair with a deaconess. (Are you seeing a pattern?)
Since then, we have been part of some amazing churches, but we have grown in how we handle the MESS of ministry. People make MESSy choices, people act contrary to the teachings in God’s Word, and the world presses in and makes things difficult. Although we cannot control other people and their MESSes, we can learn to better cope with them and minister in them.
Three steps to the mess of ministry
Coping with and ministering in MESS falls in three stages
1. MESSy – recognizing that life is messy. Just giving credence to the mess allows me to extend grace to myself and others, especially when it is inconvenient, inconsistent and inopportune. (Romans 3:23)
2. MESSiah – recognizing God sent Jesus into our MESS to make a difference and to save us from ourselves. Relying on Him and keeping my eyes on Him gives me a healthier perspective on the MESS of life and allowed me to even praise Him for it. (Luke 19:10)
3. MESSage – recognizing that the MESS (the missteps of myself and others) has a purpose. Only God could take our hurt and use them to give us a MESSage of hope to a hurting world. (Romans 8:28)
Are you finding yourself in the MESS of a broken relationship, tough ministry situation, health issue or discouraging season in life? There is hope. Remember while your life may get MESSy, God will use it to bring His MESSage to others and point you to the MESSiah.
Amberly Neese is a busy speaker, author, and humorist who has won the hearts (and funny bones) of people all over the country at hundreds of retreats, camps, seminars, and conventions. She and her family live in beautiful Prescott, AZ, and enjoy Star Wars and the Food Network. Details about her ministry can be found at: amberlyneese.com.
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