As I watched my friend being ordained, and thirty pastors gather around and lay hands upon one head, I felt a surge of joy—and a simultaneous sinking awareness that my friend, though gifted, would not find ministry easy. This newly commissioned pastor had been sent to a church of 14 to apply cardiac paddles to a patient that had flat-lined. As in the E.R., the procedure was risky and the outcome unknown.
When I visited my friend's new church, the pianist hired for the previous week had not worked out, so the service went on without any music. The nursery worker didn't show up and didn't tell anyone she wasn't coming. Bags with fresh loaves of bread sticking out waited to be passed out to visitors, but few loaves would be given out that day. Welcome to ministry.
Exiled to a rocky, barren isle, John wrote to Christians: "In Jesus we are partners in suffering and in the Kingdom and in patient endurance." We prefer to hear that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, not ...1