If I had to do it again
Post By Julie Richard | Lake Hills Church | Austin, TX | Twitter
I can honestly say that I cannot imagine a more fulfilling, more exciting, more fun endeavor than pouring my life into the local church. Sure, we’ve had our ups and downs. But planting, growing and serving the church is one fantastic adventure! My hope and prayer is that Mac and I get to do this ministry thing for many years to come. And I believe that it’s our incredible ministry friends that will help sustain our joy and fuel our passion for serving the local church.
Early in our ministry, though, when our children were young, and our church was even younger, I rarely…if ever…spent time with other ministry friends – other pastors, church leaders, and those who serve the local church as a full time gig. We were swamped with diapers, sippy cups, and toddler tantrums at home…and we were just barely keeping our heads above water at the new church. To say that we were in survival mode would be a gross understatement…we were living from one Sunday to the next. Spare time was a pipe dream! But, if I had it to do all over again, I’d take the time…I’d MAKE the time to spend time with other ministry friends. We had great family and friends, and they were all very supportive of our ministry. But, I learned that there’s just something different…something special about spending time with friends who share the very same passion for Jesus and His church…friends who ride this ministry roller coaster and love it, too!
Here’s the trick, though…you won’t drift into those great friendships. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll wake up one day and discover that you suddenly have fabulous friends who encourage, challenge, refresh and refuel you…friends who struggle with similar struggles, dream similar dreams…friends who speak the same “ministry” language. You must CREATE those friendships…you have to WORK to make it happen.
You first have to DECIDE that it’s WORTH IT…that it’s important enough to make the childcare arrangements, to spend the money, to get everything covered so that you can be away. It’s not always convenient. It always costs some time, money, and effort. You have to decide that the VALUE of these friendships…the long-term value of life-giving, perspective-shaping, soul-charging friendships…that the VALUE of these friendships OUTWEIGHS the costs. You have to decide that the time, money, and effort is WORTH IT. And I’m here to tell you…it’s TOTALLY WORTH IT.
Then, you PRAY and SEEK them out. Pray that God will open your eyes to other girls who are looking for ministry friends, too. Pray that God would allow you and your husband to cross paths and connect with other ministry couples. As you’re praying, SEEK out these friends. There are fantastic conferences, networks and groups who seek to connect women in ministry with one another. Don’t be shy…jump in and get connected! It’ll feed and fuel your ministry, because these friends will feed and fuel your soul! Take the time…MAKE the time…to spend time with ministry friends. And I hope and pray that you, too, will enjoy this ministry thing for years to come!