In recent days and again today in church as I looked around, I was aware of the many looks of ministry. Too often we tend to think of ministry as that which ordained clergy do. It is however, much more than that. In front of me was a woman who had brought a former neighbor who recently moved to a facility, to church. That’s ministry. Earlier this week a friend contacted a woman to whom the church sends some mailings – even though we really didn’t know who she was or what her story was. In the phone call my friend learned a little about the woman; and even though she does not come and seems to have no immediate plans to come to church, she appreciates the mailings. That’s ministry. I have connected with a longtime member of our church who has not been in the church for a long time due to health issues. I did bring her to church once but have not since. However, I call her each week and we have a short visit and determine if she is able to come on Sunday. That too, is ministry - as is preparing Thanksgiving dinner for 100 or more!
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “minister” (as verb) as to “attend to the needs of someone.” That’s what has been happening in the depictions above. It turns out that making cookies to send to someone is also a ministry; bringing food for the local food pantry is a ministry; serving on a town board or committee is a ministry; giving someone new to a job a chance to perfect his sales pitch is ministry; you can name even more.
In this day when many of us in the pews at church bemoan our low numbers, it behooves us to look for and recognize – even give thanks for! – the many ways in which ministry is carried out in our world. It is all the better for it.
(I have added two poems – you’ll find them at the top of the poetry page)