This is the first blog post that I have written for a while. To be honest life has been so consuming and pleasurable that I feel that I have almost totally disengaged from certain focuses. Life seems to be all that matters these daze. The simple things, the once overlooked and mundane things, now carry for the first time colours and fragrances which fully have my attention. It’s strange how our appetites change over time, how our drive and desires can fall away as we journey on deeper into life. I’m thankful that ‘awareness’ is manifesting, that I’m beginning to awaken to reality and am learning just how powerful and precious each moment of the ‘now’ truly is. Everything else can remain on the back burner, tomorrows pressures can wait, yesterdays trials and triumphs are irrelevant, all that matters is my engagement in this moment in life!
I will start and end this short blog post by sharing two things which got my attention, one seriously troubling and one seriously glorious. Whilst in America a few years back a young 18 year old lad started pulling on me at the end of a meeting. I had no idea who he was but he was so eager and keen to communicate something with me as he thrust his new ‘Ministry business card’ into my hand; “Dave, Dave, look I now have the name for my new ministry and international evangelistic outreach!” The guy was so stoked that at such a tender age he not only knew that ‘God’ had called him but that he had also filled in all the administrative holes which were holding him back from getting straight out on the road! Although I couldn’t knock the the young lads zeal and passion to ‘serve,’ something within me felt deeply troubled by the whole experience. Here was a young guy, his whole life ahead of him, who was growing up in a country which offers more opportunity to prosper and succeed than most, who was believing that his whole life was now mapped out for him ‘In Ministry!’ To me this was troubling although I know that others would see his desire as a truly noble thing!
This stuff seems to be such a trend within mainstream charismatic circles! Young people who should be out enjoying life with their peers, who could be getting an education and learning what it is to form fun and meaningful relationships with friends and strangers are signing up by the thousands to be ‘equipped’ for ministry at some international institute. Instead of fully engaging in life they find themselves withdrawing from life, as they learn a new language which is pretty much foreign to the rest of the planet. The sad realization for many is that after a few years of sacrificing a lot in terms of time, effort, energy and finance they then need to leave and engage again in the big wide world with no fresh qualifications and very little idea of how to function in ordinary every day life. I’m not saying that some aren’t called to this type of ‘Ministry,’ actually I have had the privilege of hanging out with many great guys over the years who seem to thrive in the ministry. I guess I just agree with Rodney H Browne where he says that; “Many are called, some are sent, OTHERS just bought a microphone and went!” I guess I have also questioned just how many see ‘Ministry’ as an escape from ordinary life, as a Golden Ticket to travel the world and to impress others with their substantial knowledge of what is actual ‘Truth!’ I guess I also wonder just how many see ministry as a basis ‘for’ Identity and don’t see it as needing to come ‘from’ identity? I mean it must be awesome right, to stand in front of guys who are taking notes whilst you share and who cheer you on with the occasional; “Amen Brother!”
Ministry for me wasn’t something that I consciously chose, it wasn’t something that I built and I certainly didn’t focus on brown nosing my way up a ladder of ministerial contacts and success. I just found myself at home, hammered drunk, overwhelmed by reality for months at a time and others built a ministry around me! I had no desire to travel or to be away from family, I mean why would anyone want to be away from their wife and kids? Seriously I wasn’t that confident in myself, in many ways I felt the most ‘unqualified,’ certainly not brash enough to suggest that guys NEEDED me into their city! The beginning of ministry for me didn’t look like; ‘I felt I had it all together and had a sure theological basis and felt compelled to tell the world!’ Neither did putting an itinerary together look like; ‘going on Facebook and putting out a post saying, “Hey I’m planning a tour what cities shall I visit?” (In other words “Hey I’m desperate for ministry PLEASE will you invite me into your area!) Laughable but sadly true! No, how it looked for me was I would be with a friend in my home, loving life, realizing that I was drunk and I would start to say; “Hey I feel that we may need to go to Leeds sometime soon!” Then within a day or so out of the blue, from a random stranger an invite would come from Leeds! I never TRIED to build anything, I knew nothing about ministry and certainly didn’t have a business card, YET stuff happened which seemingly meant that I may of been called into some form of ministry.
I’m sorry guys but this whole thing is my pet hate! I guess the more I’m realizing that ‘IT ACTUALLY IS FINISHED,’ then the more I’m not only recognizing that I can fully enjoy the Rest, BUT I can also clearly see how fervently guys are striving to be heard and to have a platform! I suppose there was a day many years ago when the anointing made room for you, these days I guess all you need is an empty calendar, plenty of time on your hands and a ‘present’ solid theological foundation. I guess as I also re-evaluate my own life and theology and as I recognize that this whole thing is about us continually living in the preciousness of this moment IN LIFE, then I realize that ministry is nothing more than ‘ME BEING ME WHEREVER I AM!’ Let’s face it guys we can attempt to justify a lot of our evangelistic and charismatic efforts within the church, BUT the sad fact is that most ministries are mostly just speaking to the choir and re-arranging church furniture! For the most part the message NEVER goes to the heart of humanities needy! Somehow, somewhere there must come a people who are so manifesting reality, that wherever they go change takes place, in school, in college, in the workplace, at the gym, at the mall, at the concert, on the streets, with our neighbors! A ministry of life IN the midst of life!
Now for the seriously glorious story! So my kids are doing amazingly well! Tasha finishes her degree in a few weeks and she will then start her Masters in English literature. We are so proud of her, she is wanting to evolve into Media Journalism where she can work on TV bringing change and transformation. We always realized as with all of our kids that there was something crazy on her life, we would take her to meetings where random prophets would stand up in front of hundreds and call her out by name and prophesy great things over her. At a young age she was given a photographic memory via an encounter with the Divine and she hasn’t looked back since. Wherever we went guys would talk with us about the strength of the ‘Governmental Anointing’ on her life lol! At the time Donna and I just assumed that this meant that she would be in ministry, that she would at some point go off to Bethel or Ihop and get fired up before launching out with her ministry name and business cards! Little did we know that in no way did she need to disengage from life to become such a blessing, little did we know that she could actually just enjoy her life, pursue her desires, get a great education AND then influence millions who would NEVER darken a church door to hear the next revivalist! Donna and I have not brow beat Tasha with a Bible, we have not monitored her prayer devotion or encouraged her to sacrifice more in order to get more. Hell No, as a matter of fact we have probably learned more by watching her evolution and the effortlessness of the fruit born out of her journey than we would ever feel that we have contributed to her success! Man surely this has to be the way? Not departing from life but embracing life, not striving to achieve but achieving without any striving? Ministry? What is true ministry? “As much as you did it to the least of these my brothers you did it unto me!”