The other day I was meeting with a new family in the church, and they asked me, “What should we call you?” I’ve been called a lot of names in my life; some of them can even be reprinted in a family forum. In my vocation, I’ve been called everything from “Father” to “Rabbi”. I’m still waiting to hear “May I speak to Shaman Kory?”
When I first came to CCC, I was asked if I would rather be called a pastor or a minister. You may not think there’s any difference between the two; for a long time, I didn’t. But through my training I’ve come to learn that there’s a significant difference, which is why I prefer to be called a pastor.
The reason I don’t prefer the title “minister” is because that’s not my title to have. At my home church in Jeffersonville, in their Sunday bulletin, they list the staff this way: “Pastor – Bruce Barkhauer; Ministers – All our members.” If a minister is one who does ministry, then every person who sets foot in our church is a minister, or at least a potential one. Yes, I’m a minister, but so are you.
For too long now, the idea of ministry has been confined within the church walls. It’s time to break down those walls and let ministry be reclaimed by the ministers – all of you! Each and every one of you are involved in a ministry. Some serve within the church – leading or working on committees, singing in the choir, providing refreshments for Coffee Fellowship, etc. Every single person who serves in the church is vital.
Many more of you serve outside the church: in your neighborhood, in your job, even in your own family. “Doing ministry” does not require seminary training and a black robe; it simply requires a desire to serve others, to put God and others first.
A woman who was a local church member once took some time out of her day to feed a homeless person and help him find temporary shelter. When she saw her pastor, she complained, “I think ministers should do something about the homeless!” And the pastor responded, “It sounds to me like a minister did!”
I know so many of you are involved in wonderful civic and service organizations, giving countless hours to serving others. What I’m encouraging you to do is to see that work as a ministry, and to claim it as such. Helping kids cross the street to school is a ministry; working with Riverside Foundation is a ministry; coaching a youth sports team is a ministry. We are all first and foremost Christians, and what we do outside the church is an extensive of who we are called to be inside the church.
You are a minister. You do ministry. You may not consider this to be true, but I’ve seen you in action, and I know it is. The church needs you. The world needs you. I’m proud to be one of the pastors for such a wonderful, dedicated group of ministers.