Well, its that time of year again where all us college ministry dudes use the Christmas break to reflect on the past semester and make any necessary changes for the next. As I have spent the past few weeks in prayer and pondering, it seems to me that we must always come back to what is important to God and not make ministry such a complex beast that overwhelms us.
Jesus told us to seek first the kingdom of God, and when we pray to ask that God's kingdom would come and be manifested on this earth. That is, since the fall of humanity, this world has been under the realm of Satan. God, however, is in the business of restoring his rule and reign. So, my ministry must have this controlling agenda.
The kingdom of God is established and expanded through proclamation of the gospel in Word and sacrament. In other words, the means of God's grace to us is through communication of the Bible and its central message of the redeeming work of Christ. There is now reconciliation between God and humans through the death of Jesus. God has united us to himself in order that we would enjoy him, and he us. As Teresa of Avila has said, "the soul is God's paradise, being made by God and for God." Intimacy with the divine is the purpose of our existence. Therefore, prayer is the primary means by which to commune with God and is not optional equipment for the Christian but vital to seeing the kingdom expand in my heart and to others.
We must come back to the simplicity of this ministry. It is easy to become sidetracked from this and be content with erecting massive ministry structures, programs, and events that may please other people and feed my ego, but do little toward accomplishing what was important to Jesus and is necessary to seeing the kingdom of God realized on my campus.
So, then, maybe we need to ask ourselves such questions as these:
1. Is the kingdom of God a controlling goal for my ministry, and do I even understand what it is and how it works?
2. Do our ministries truly develop intimacy with God?
3. Is prayer necessary and central to everything we do?
4. Are our ministry structures simple and contribute toward the kingdom of God, or cumbersome and divert students away from this focus?
Just as football teams must never forget the fundamentals of the game in order to win, so we need to come back to what is important as defined by Jesus, and let this be the evaluative grid through which we look at all of ministry. Ministry may require hard work and sacrifice, but it need not be complex. Simplicity toward doing what is essential is required. May you experience joy in ministry as you see the kingdom of God come in all its power and grace.