I am currently in my first semester of a course study toward a Doctor of Ministry degree. It may take me a while, but it has been a dream of mine to pursue this level of academic work.
In my first course, we are studying the cultural depiction of ministry – images of ministry in television, movies, novels, and the like. The main question we are considering is, “Do these fictional depictions impact the way ministry is understood in reality?”
I had never considered this question until this course. These fictional 30-minute sitcoms or 2-hour motion pictures could never capture the full reality of ministers and ministries. Yet many people gain their understanding of the church and ministers through these depictions alone.
The same can be said for many other situations in our lives. We gain our understanding of so many thing through short snip-its or summaries, instead of fully discerning the situation at hand. I can testify to this in my life…
The other day I saw a post on Facebook. Upon reading it, I made assumptions about the post and the person posting. Next time I saw this person, I had already made up my mind. Then, they shared the full version, not the Facebook version, and my heart was moved and my mind was changed. What a difference it was to hear the story in person.
A few months back when Nick and I were planning a family event, we texted back and forth tidbits about the plans. I thought he knew what I meant and he thought I knew what he meant. When we finally came together, we both had different ideas of the same plan. We were frustrated and angry until we made time, sat down, and talked through the plan. What a difference it made to sit face to face and talk through it together.
In my very first ministry position, right out of college, my mentor didn’t say much to me. He assumed I knew what I was doing. One day he came to my office and said, “Why didn’t you announce the Parent’s Night Out event?!” On the verge of tears, said “What Parent’s Night Out event?” He assumed I knew. I didn’t ask. We didn’t talk. After that, we met on a regular basis to discuss upcoming events, expectations, and dreams for the future. What a difference it made to stop assuming and start talking.
A favorite scripture that guides my life is:
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.”- Matthew 18:15-17 (The Message)
I may not do this perfectly in every situation, but this verse compels me to try. In a world where attention spans are getting shorter and life is shared in 140 characters or less, it is easy to make these shorter engagements the defining moments. But my Doctorate class and this scripture continue to push me to dig deeper. Let’s dig deeper together.
Posted on Wed, October 5, 2016
by Micah James