Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Vocational Wellbeing for Churches in One Word: Service!

Reading time: two minutes. You are God’s gift to the Church.  You know that, don’t you?   Wow! “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12). We stand in the long line of the apostles and prophets who went before us.  It’s a problem when any of us church workers consider ourselves, “God’s gift to the Church” in a prideful, arrogant manner. But what a joy to be a personally selected servant of our Servant-King, Jesus! We’re designed for service.  It’s wrong to think of labor on behalf of God and neighbor as only a part of this earthly time of the cross and not a part of our eternity in glory. In Genesis we’re told that God gave Adam work to do before the fall, and in the Revelation to John, the Apostle saw that “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple” (7:15).  From Genesis to Revelation, we are described as servants. It’s our fallen, sinful nature that puts “Me” first, that expects others to come and provide for my needs.  The opulence of our wealthy society has spoiled us in many ways and distracted us from the high honor of our calling to be servants in our many, various vocations. I’m at my best as a husband, a son, a father and a neighbor when I put the needs of others first.  The sooner I learn this lesson, the better off I am.  It’s an essential part of my Christian witness.  Others will know I follow Jesus by the way I love and serve others.  Service is at the core of my calling as a pastor also. Not everything Jesus did was an example for us.  We’re not called to bear the cross for the world’s sins.  Only He could do that. But as He washed the disciples’ feet, Jesus did say, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15).  He called us servants once again in the next verse when He reminded us, “No servant is greater than his master.” The life of a professional church worker is filled with sacrifice.  For the sake of the ministries we lead, and more importantly, for the sake of the good news we share, we’re called to take up the basin and towel and wash feet.  Because we’re selfish at heart, the life of sacrifice in ministry can become burdensome and wearying. Only the love of Jesus can keep us going. I hope you’ll remember each and every day to pause for time in the Lord’s Word and let Jesus wash your feet.  Bathe in His promises.  Find refuge in the Gospel of His love.  Enjoy the comfort of His service to you for now and for eternity. Then pick up the towel again.  That’s vocational wellness. Well done, good and faithful servant! Thanks for reading. Do you serve in a multiple staff setting in a church, Lutheran school, university or social service ministry?  Discover how a Ministry Team Wellness Workshop can help enhance your team ministry by building the unity, spiritual life and communication essential to partnership in ministry.  Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman for more information.