Many years ago, I was a minister in training, I had just started dating my wife and many people didn’t know about it. A couple of ladies from our church in Ilorin travelled to Ibadan, and they met up with her. During their conversation, they started updating her about our church. And having me in mind, she asked about the trainee ministers. One of the ladies replied, ‘Min. So and so is doing great, but there is this arrogant new guy, who knows nothing but to wear gold suit, and wear chain bracelet!’ News flash – I was the new guy.
When she told me about the conversation, I didn’t have enough strength to get angry. I didn’t even know these ladies but here they were judging me. If you are amazed at the story, or you would have been livid if that were to be you. Then you are not yet in ministry – or you are green here.
Welcome to Ministry 101 – lessons from a Young Minister. One thing you must accept in ministry is that people will judge you – most times unfairly. Some within, some outside your flock. Be ready to keep moving. Don’t take anything too personal, for many times the problem is not a problem of the heart, it is a problem of the head – they just don’t know any better. I have always found encouragement in the words of Christ, ‘IT IS ENOUGH FOR A DISCIPLE THAT HE BE LIKE HIS TEACHER, AND A SERVANT LIKE HIS MASTER. IF THEY HAVE CALLED THE MASTER OF THE HOUSE [G]BEELZEBUB, HOW MUCH MORE WILL THEY CALL THOSE OF HIS HOUSEHOLD!’ Matthew 10:25. They called Him god of dung or god of flies. I mean they really thought Christ was god of shit – that is just plain stupid. But if God has called you, and you will matter in the scheme of things, then get ready for more nasty labels. I mean Jesus said, ‘How much more will they call those of his household’. D.L. Moody said, ‘if no man ever has anything to say against you, your Christianity is not worth more’.
Read the dailies, go through social media, everywhere, giants in the faith are getting analysed by experts, everyone has been criticised. Criticism is a norm and not an exception in ministry. In as much as you keep doing what God has called you to do, men will always speak – some will call you selfish, demonised, evil, wicked, boastful. But it really doesn’t matter – what matters is what the Master says about you. For we are called to do the will of God, we are performers to an audience of One.
Don’t let the seed of bitterness grow in you, give love to those who hate and persecute you. Don’t throw stones. Keep calm, the Lord will fight for you and you will hold your peace. And if the darts and attacks really get tough, delight yourself in Isaiah 50:8, ‘HE IS NEAR WHO JUSTIFIES ME; WHO WILL CONTEND WITH ME? LET US STAND TOGETHER. WHO IS [A]MY ADVERSARY? LET HIM COME NEAR ME.’ He who justifies you is near. Amen! And the lady in the first paragraph? Years later, I attended her wedding. I didn’t do a thing against her.
I just kept walking in love. You should too. Grace to you!
Your Greatness is Assured