I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
March 29, 2016
The Ministry, The Mess, The Mission, The Movement
Definition: the office, duties, or work of a religious minister.
Twenty two years ago I made a decision that would transform my life forever. It was by far the best decision I have made to date. That decision was to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and make him my Lord and King (Romans 10:9). He has NEVER failed me.
I had the privilege of attending one of the most progressive, fastest growing churches in London at that time. It consumed my life and set me on a path of spiritual growth and personal relationship with Jesus for which I will be forever grateful. It was a firm foundation which immensely contributed in many ways to the person I am today.
Over the years I was completely committed to and in many ways 'sold out' to the MINISTRY which is a term often used to describe, 'working or serving in church in some capacity'. The MINISTRY became my everything. At one point I literally spent almost everyday of my life in MINISTRY. I have no regrets as it served to shape the person I would become. Everything I know about being and doing 'church' I learnt in that MINISTRY. I learnt how to serve, how to give, how to sacrifice, how to submit to authority, how to praise, how to worship, how to preach, how to teach, how to follow, how to lead and how to live. In many ways it was the best of times :-)
On the other hand however, in many ways, it was also the worst of times. What I failed to realise then was that I was also learning something else, albeit subconsciously. I learnt that the ministry - the 'church' - that I had grown to love with all of my heart was also, a mass of MESS. (Now don't run ahead of me here, I am not dishonouring or disrespecting my heritage I am simply sharing my experience).
Definition: a disordered, untidy, offensive, or unpleasant state or condition.
It was a MESS and I was a MESS. I discovered (and in my case this was after many, many years) that 'church' was a MESS and it was full of messed up people. People who were hurting, broken, abused, used, rejected, neglected and taken for granted. It was a MESS. (Matthew 9:11-13) Whilst this revelation was a shock and a surprise to me, because I had unrealistic expectations and had placed others on unattainable pedalstools, I realised over time that this was always in God's plan (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
The MESS was apparently part of His masterplan.
At the time of my discovery I was not in a place mentally or spiritually to positively process this revelation. I felt betrayed, disappointed and painfully let down by many of those who I had grown to love and trust. I took people at face value, not realising or fully understanding that hurting people, hurt people; that broken people, break people and that a powerful spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12) without the practice of spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-26) can cause more harm than it does good. As a result I left the MINISTRY and embarked upon a journey of working out my own MESS. (Philippians 2:12)
It's been just over three years since being on this journey. Three years of unravelling, untangling and understanding where I was, what I had encountered and who I had become. During that process I have been many things. I have been angry, bitter, resentful, dare I say, hateful and even revengeful (adjectives that should not be associated with Christians but unfortunately often are). How did I get here? After so many years of 'selfless' service and sacrifice (I say this fully realising that much of it was about self), giving everything that was precious to me - my time, my talent and my treasures - to the ministry, I found myself at home every Sunday doing 'church online' without even a phone call or a text, for the most part, from my 'spiritual family' to check how I was doing! How did it make me feel? In a nutshell, I wanted to hurt someone. I told you, I was a MESS.
Definition: a task or job that someone is given to do.
It was a poignant but powerful journey because during this season I have been forced to question everything and everyone that was associated to 'all things church' and Christianity. What did it really mean to be a Christian? What was the real purpose of the Church? Why had I done things this way for so long without question? I came to realise - and it was a powerful revelation - that often times, almost always, pain is an indicator, and my pain was indicating that something was very wrong. This revelation opened my eyes to what has now become part of my life's MISSION.
19 years of MINISTRY. 3 years of MESS. Now I'm on a MISSION. Throughout the past three years and particularly in the last year it has come to my attention that there are many, many others like me. Many who have been messed up by the 'ministry', battered, bruised and broken by the very thing , the very people they grew to love and trust...
Preyed upon by Pastors. Let down by Leaders. Manipulated by Ministers. Deceived by Deacons. Wounded by Wives (often of those in leadership) and Marginalised by other Members.
This is a devastating yet developing truth. This is not something new, nor is it something that can be easily rectified. I have come to realise that once something is accepted, then and only then, can it be effectively addressed. 'Ministry' can be a mess and has indeed caused alot of damage. I accept that, now. People are people and they will do what people do. I get that, now. This world is fallen, hurting and broken. I understand that, now and because I have accepted this and have addressed it in my own life, I no longer hoard and harbour those negative feelings or ambitions, but rather I am free to love, heal and forgive because I accept that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint and everyone is running it at different paces and are at varying places. I get it, now.
But the most valuable thing I 'got' during this time was the revelation that Jesus is my Saviour, my redeemer, my healer, my counsellor, my comforter and my constant and consistent friend. For a minute there I got Christ and Church mixed up, I thought the one was at all times a representation of the other, how wrong I was. Christ is perfect. The Church is imperfect. I get it and I am so grateful I got it. Now I am on a MISSION and my mission is to re-present him to those who are hurting. My MISSION is to re-introduce him to them that are lost. My MISSION is to re-acquaint him with those who are broken so that they too can be free to love, heal and forgive.
Definition: the act or process of moving; a change of place or position or posture: a particular instance or manner of moving: a tactical or strategic shifting of a military unit: a series of organized activities working toward an objective.
This is my mission and I believe, NO, as a matter of fact, I am SO CONFIDENT that God is raising up in this season - the last days (Joel 2:28) an army of Kingdom Ambassadors: (Ambassador - a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by one sovereign or state to another as its resident representative). God is the Sovereign - we are His resident representatives in the earth. We are the ones who are going to initiate a MOVEMENT , it's the new thing that God is doing. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
It is a MOVEMENT OF WORSHIPERS who have been taught how to demonstrate His Kingdom on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. (John 4:23-24)
It is a MOVEMENT OF WARRIORS who have been trained to use spiritual weapons to destroy the kingdom of darkness. (Ephesians 6:11-18)
It is a MOVEMENT OF WORDSMITHS who have been tutored to deliver His word to them that are bound and to set the captives free. (Hebrews 4:12)
It is a MOVEMENT OF WORKERS who have no need for titles and have been tailored in His Image to reflect His glory and who are unashamedly His hands and feet in this earth. (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)
This MOVEMENT has been prepared by the Holy Spirit, in the secret place FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS. We are going to save our nations, trusting God to heal our land and... if we perish, we perish but THIS IS OUR TIME! (Esther 4:13-14-16)
I left 'church' or the MINISTRY, because I was MESSED up. I blamed it for a while until God fixed me, focused me and forced me to take responsibility. He than gave me a MISSION. Returning to 'church' is optional for me because I am now part of a MOVEMENT which is so much bigger than 'church' and far more effective, it's the work of the Kingdom. It's what Jesus came to establish here on earth (Matthew 4:17) and he has given me a strategic part to play. I have struggled with this transition for many years but not anymore because I am fully persuaded that the 'church' was never meant to be subjected to a building or an institution, the church is a person(s). Please don't misunderstand me and please don't hear what I am NOT saying, I believe wholeheartedly that church as we know it has a purpose and I am in no way belittling it's place because I owe much of who I am today to those days and those experiences (if you doubt my motives please refer to paragraph 3). But I now understand, I got the revelation, that I am the church, you are the church, we are the church and we are not here to fulfil our own agendas or to be about our own business but rather to build God's Kingdom and to be about our Fathers business.
This is our very reason for being and it is all that will matter in THE END.
Karen Allen God's Girl. X
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!