HOLD YOUR ARMS OUT STRAIGHT …

I had an interesting conversation today. A pastor of another church called me to inquire about our personnel policy manual. She had seen my name listed in a Conference publication and, by making some connections, thought I could be helpful to her. After we talked a bit and I was able to help her out, she asked if she could ask me a couple other questions. I, of course, said yes.

You see, she is at a point in her ministry as an Executive Pastor where she is doing many of the same things I do. She does not have that particular type of training.  We talked a bit about how to get that training and experience. It was then she asked the interesting question:

“How do you resolve doing the business part of the church with ministry?” This is not the first time this question has been put to me, so I did have an answer.

When you have a chance, look at a very interesting account in Exodus 17:8-13. It is a story of faithfulness, weariness, support and victory! To me, this speaks volumes of not only God’s presence in the lives and history of the children of Israel, but of God’s ongoing presence today through faithful servants. Moses, the great leader of the people followed God’s order and led the children of Israel into battle against Amalek. As long as Moses held his hands up, Israel was victorious. Now, a little exercise you will remember from gym class: hold your arms straight out to your side for the rest of the day, or as long as it might take to defeat Amalek – ready, go!

How did you do? Yup, it doesn’t take too long for your arms to get tired. So too for Moses. When he put his arms down, the battle turned to the favor of Amalek. Not good.

Enter Aaron and Hur. As faithful servants, they upheld Moses arms, assisting with what Moses by himself was unable to do, and the victory is won! Aaron and Hur are the very first support ministers, and they set a tradition that we carry on today.

In today’s world one or two people (pastors) cannot do all the ministry that needs to be accomplished; especially in a church the size of the Purple Door! My ministry is holding up the part, that if let down, would end in defeat for the church, our church, our Lord’s church! Your part, as well, is to hold up that part of ministry that might not otherwise be accomplished. Sunday School. Youth Group. Circle. Small Group. Mission Trip. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Visiting the imprisoned (at this point I am hoping Jesus’ own words are ringing in your memory!). The Purple Door church is the ongoing accomplishment of those who have gone before, as well as very many who are upholding the ministry today and into tomorrow.

So now I want to reframe her question as this; “How do you resolve doing your job/family/life with ministry?” As people who have been claimed by the Grace of our God as His own, we are called to serve God and God’s people. For some that means being in front with outstretched arms. For some it means holding up the parts that need upheld. For some it is out there fighting the battles at hand. Regardless, we each have a part in this ministry to offer. To which part is God calling you?

Thank you for your faithfulness and serving. If you have any questions about your gifts, abilities or where you might serve, talk with someone you trust. Ask friends around you. Talk with one of our staff. Visit with the pastors. God has given you gifts to us in ministry and God has a place for you to serve. This really is a team effort!

Tom Danklefsen

 

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