Have you ever blown a gum bubble so big that it popped and created a sticky mess all over your pretty face?
That’s typically what goes down when one pops the full-time ministry bubble. A sticky mess.
Humans don’t always care for others who break the mold. I’ve found this to be especially true as a youth pastor’s wife.
In many denominational circles (and Christian circles in general), it happens when someone does anything outside of the traditional bubble.
- Cancel church to hold an outreach under the bridge? We probably shouldn’t… let’s invite them here instead.
- Allow jeans… shorts… sweats to church? This is definitely not appropriate church attire. Didn’t they read the manual?
- Get rid of the hymnals and allow our students to attend a “Christian Rock” concert? Don’t they know that hymns & southern gospel are the only music that Jesus approves of?
- Leave pastoral ministry to take a secular job and volunteer in various ministries? Oh my, Lord, forgive them; they’ve backslidden. I’ve got to call Sister Sally and see if she’s heard…. you know, so we can pray for them to find their way back.
- The pastor’s wife is seeing a counselor for depression? Well, is she really saved? Because a saved person couldn’t possibly walk through depression.
- The missionary’s son got a girl pregnant outside of wedlock? And their daughter is in a romantic relationship with another woman? They certainly didn’t raise those kids in a Godly way. We need to cancel our monthly support.
- The new pastor has tattoos? He’s not a true Christian.
I have truthfully heard and seen each of these scenarios. And they make me want to run the other way. No wonder more Americans aren’t fighting tooth and nail to follow the Jesus they’ve been shown.
I’m a popper by nature.
It’s so hard not to smash a big, beautiful, sheer pink bubble when it emerges from someone’s mouth, am I right?!
It’s also hard for me not to pop a big, annoying how-it’s-always-been-how-it-always-should-be bubble when I see one. It’s who I am.
I know why popping a gum bubble creates a sticky mess, but why does popping the latter bubble do the same? Is it fear? Stubbornness? Confusion?
The Jesus I know never wore flashy clothes with matching shoes to preach the Word of His Father. In fact, I’ve said more than once that if Jesus were to walk into many churches today, he’d be looked down upon and possibly shunned. His dirty feet and unwashed gown were most likely far from the crispy clean garments we see in paintings today. And He most likely wouldn’t walk in carrying a hymnal. In fact, He didn’t even frequent “churches.”
Jesus went into the trenches. He met people where they were… in the messy, filthy, sticky aftermath of popped tradition bubbles.
To follow Him should mean that we do the same. His is the greatest ministry example I can think to follow.
Whether we are in full-time ministry as a vocation or not, we are all in ministry. We are all called to be His disciples, to reach those lost and in need with the power of His love, grace, and mercy.
We are called to GO, not to stay inside of our bright, cheery, pink bubbles… even if it means getting sticky.
I don’t want to be stuck in the status quo ministry bubble. I don’t want to be tied down to religious rules and man-made tradition. Sure, some of those traditions are beautiful and meaningful, but certainly some are also holding us back from actually following the Jesus that suffered for our sins, and from leading others to walk alongside this Jesus, as well…. the Jesus that trekked through muck and dirt… the Jesus that knew hunger as He sought His Father… the Jesus that exposed the hypocrites and embraced the broken… the Jesus that wept.
I want to follow that Jesus, even if it means popping the beautiful, traditional ministry bubble that many choose.
Not only are they holding us back from Him, they are often keeping many others from knowing Him.
I want something different. Will it be sticky? Probably. But that’s okay. People will talk. People will shun. People will laugh. And people will wonder.
I can handle all of that; if He is calling me to it, He’s got my back.
Please understand that I am not bashing religion, church, or Christians. I’m simply exhausted by the fact that so many make it out to be something it was never intended to become.
I love that my husband and I are in full-time ministry. I love that I’m following in the footsteps of my grandparents, who were in full-time ministry for over fifty years.
But we are certainly not satisfied being contained within a bubble, whether it be round or square. And though we have had to stand our ground on more times than I can count, we have also been supported twice that. I’m so grateful that we are free to be exactly who God has called us to be, in full-time ministry and out.
Give me sticky, and give me Jesus.
I’m always honored to link up with my friend, Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday. It’s beautiful, brave women sharing their stories of love, pain, hurt, and Jesus. Join us here!