I have been wrestling with some thoughts lately about being in the ministry and doing ministry.
I know working in a ministry setting is messy. Why? Because you are working with people and people have lives that are not neat and tidy, wrapped in a big red bow. I’m learning this more with the ministry I work with. (Joni and Friends) Working with people who have disabilities is not easy and is messier at times than working with people who are considered “normal”.
I do know what it is like to be in a family that has some one with a disability and the challenges it presents. I’ve talked about my brother who has Cerebral Palsy and how it has affected him and our family. I can remember many times just wanting him to “act normal” and “be like everyone else” so that we could be a “normal” family. (Side note: My family is anything but normal and it has nothing to do with my brother. 😉 )
Many times I have begged, and pleaded for people to come alongside my brother and be a friend and minister to him only to have it fall on deaf ears. I got the “yeah, I would love to hang with your brother and connect with him” comments only to realize that it was not as sincere as either of us hoped or wanted it to be. Why? Because hanging out with my brother is messy. He’s not “normal”. I don’t fault the people I have tried to connect my brother with in saying “yes” when it came down to “I don’t know, let me think about it” and several months go by with no contact. It is not easy to connect with some one just because their sibling thinks you should. Another reason I don’t fault them is because I’ve done the same thing. Many times people have wanted me to connect with someone who is hurting, or their lives are just plain messy and I say “yes” with good intentions only to have horrible follow through.
I’ve realized over the years it takes special people who truly want to get their hands dirty and jump into the mess that is ministry. Disability ministry adds a whole new dimension of messy.
I like things tidy and neat, wrapped in a big red bow. That’s how things in my life make sense. But life is not like that everyday and ministry is certainly not like that. It is messy and often times makes no sense. As a believer in Christ, I’m called to the messy.