"...They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.”
- Isaiah 61:3b
Ministry happens at pulpits. It happens at altars, on stages, and in crowds of people.
But it also happens in homes, coffee shops, office buildings, and elevators.
It happens at soup kitchens, around dinner tables, on basketball courts, and in living rooms.
Wherever God has "planted" His people - ministry can happen.
Since January (when Matt and I officially stepped out as full-time missionaries with Planted Ministry), I have been asking God for "ministry opportunities." I believe in the message of Planted. I know it's His message and I know it's His heart for His people.
Day after day, I pray and I trust and I believe that God will open doors.
And He has.
But it hasn't looked like what I thought.
When I pictured "ministry opportunities" I saw pulpits and stages.
He saw 12 girls on a basketball team that needed a coach.
He saw a bible study of young adults.
He saw a woman who needed encouragement and a hug.
He saw my dining room table filled with guests - sharing a meal and worshipping together.
He saw teen boys filling up my basement with laughter and friendship.
He saw the woman that would be encouraged as she would watch a little video I would post on John 3:16.
He saw my family and the discipleship that would happen as we slowed down.
I saw stages. He saw moments.
And what I have learned is this: ministry opportunities are all around us. Like Jesus told His disciples, if we will only "look up" - we will see the harvest (John 4:35). It's in the moments - the people we pass by every day on our way to "the next big thing."
It's in relationship.
It's in the every day.
It's right where He has planted us - right where He has planted YOU.
Lay hold of the ministry opportunity RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. Love your family well. Visit your neighbor. Reach out to your co-worker and invite them to lunch. Have a friend over for dinner and speak life over them. Call someone you haven't seen for awhile and check in. SLOW DOWN. See the people around you.
Ministry opportunities are all around you.
Last Sunday, after worship service, I went over to hug a friend who I knew had lost someone very dear to her this past month. Instead of rushing out, I stayed. And I am so glad I did. The hug became an opportunity. I was able to share with her about God's love for her. I got to pray with her and encourage her not to give up.
Friends, it's that simple. Slow down. See the one. Seize the moment.
A few nights ago, two of my girls stayed up late with me while we waited for the other teens to return home.
"What do you want to do?" I asked.
"Let's just talk."
"Okay, what would you like to talk about?"
What followed was an hour long conversation about growing up, marriage, hearing the voice of God, and what it means to be women of God.
Friends, that was ministry.
During basketball practice last week, I could see my girl's getting frustrated at themselves for shots they were missing. Gathering the team in the center of the court, I reminded them of who God says they are. I told them how He delights in their "try" not just their "win" and that there is "no condemnation" for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). We talked about grace. Then we got up and played again. But this time, it was different. The joy was back.
I am praying that as you read this, you are grabbing ahold of the message.
Ministry happens in the moments.
It can happen wherever God has planted you.
That may be in front a pulpit.
Or it may be behind a desk,
in a gym,
around a table,
or at a local grocery store.
Grab the moments.
Seize the opportunities.
And just WATCH what God will do!