I was so uncomfortable. Mainly because my ankle was the size of an elephant trunk! (I ruptured my Achilles Tendon. If you feel inclined you can check out a pic of my ankle that night on my Instagram feed. It’s gross, but it’s worth the peak).
Here I was at District Conference just trying to concentrate when I heard one of the most profound statements about the ministry I’ve ever heard from someone who had all the accolades.
Some context. The current District Superintendent was about to honour a man who had been a credential holder in the denomination for 50 years. It is quite an accomplishment. This man had pastored many different churches and even was the District superintendent for a substantial time. Great things were accomplished in his ministry, yet when reflecting on his fifty years, he said no great memories of ministries stood out.
Then he said something that should have led to a mic drop.
He stated, “My memories are not the positions I had or the policies I helped administer. What I remember is the people. A man whose life was turned around. A marriage that was restored. The faces of the different lives that were changed.”
What a great reminder. Ten million people could read this, but is that really what I’m going to remember after 50 years of ministry? Is it the positions I held, or the accolades I achieved? Probably not. At least it hasn’t been so far.
Thus far what I remember are the teenagers whose lives have been radically changed by God. The marriages that are stronger today that were headed for failure. I recall the person who had suffered tremendous loss who has found joy in Jesus.
I don’t know your success or failures. Big–small–significant–minute. When we long to hear Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faith servant” (Matt 25), we must remember the commendation of Peter, “Feed my Sheep” (John 21).
It’s hard not to get sucked in achievement, advancement, and climbing the ladder. Yet, when looking at ministry we must always keep our eye on what’s important, the sheep, the people.Tweet
In the words of a wise credential holder fifty years down the road of vocational ministry:
Remember the people.