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"Ministreeee"

Date: 
January 10, 2016
Speaker: 
Rev. Terry Martinson

MINISTREEEE

 

THEME: The role of the minister is to educate, empathize, encourage and empower.

 

INTRODUCTION

  • My father was a fanatic about spelling… in his mind, there was no excuse for spelling a word incorrectly… the 8” thick Webster’s Dictionary that sat on the corner of his desk was so worn from hard use that it had to be rebound… actually it had to be rebound twice… the first time it was rebound, the company misspelled the word Dictionary on the binding, a mistake my dad could not accept… When dad was in his 70s, he won the State of Connecticut Spelling Bee for Senior Citizens.
  • Unfortunately, the gift of good spelling is not one of the gifts that my father passed down to me… if you look at the sermon title printed in the bulletin you will see that I horribly misspelled the word Ministry… I spelled it with four Es, rather than a Y… I did that intentionally.

 

MINISTRY

  • Ordained minister… frustrated… decided to leave the ministry to seek different employment… couldn’t find any other work… in desperation, he took a job at the zoo… the zoo’s old gorilla had died, and since it was always the favorite animal of the children, the zoo officials decided to put someone in a gorilla costume until a real gorilla could be found <kind of an “interim gorilla”>… it was the minister’s job to don the gorilla costume, romp around the cage, and entertain the zoo’s visitors… he quickly found that people were paying more attention to him now than they ever had when he was in the pulpit…   it was a great job  -  he had all that he wanted to eat and he could take a nap anytime he wanted to… it was all part of the act!  One day as he hopped up and down he felt so frisky that he decided to try the trapeze… he began flying around and then he suddenly lost his grip, flew over the bar and into the next cage… in his semi-dazed condition, he looked up to see the lion charging right at him. Naturally, he forgot that he was supposed to be a gorilla and started to holler, “Help! Help!” Whereupon the lion said, “Be quiet, you fool. I’m a minister, too!”   <Colaianni #164>
  • The theme of today’s sermon is ministryyou can see in the bulletin that I intentionally spelled ministry with four E’s…
  • Today I’m going to focus on the role of a minister…
  • What does a minister do? Inquiring minds want to know…
  • Here is one pastor’s explanation of what he does:
    • The pastor proclaims eternal truths to people who would rather hear the latest baseball scores
    • He teaches, though he must solicit his own classes
    • He heals, though without pills or knife
    • He prays for people and hopes they pray for him
    • He leads worship and tries to make God real to those present
    • He sows God’s word and cultivates God’s vineyard so that we may have deep roots in Christ and bear abundant fruits of the Spirit
    • He is a manager, administrator, correspondent, and keeper of official records
    • He is sometimes a lawyer, often a social worker, and frequently a one-man emergency squad
  • He is the favorite target of panhandlers and a decorative piece at public functions
  • He is a writer, speech maker, something of an editor, a bit of a scholar, philosopher, entertainer, salesman and arbitrator (referee/umpire)
  • He is the theologian in residence and interpreter of the church at large
  • He seeks the lost, visits the sick, counsels the troubled… he comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable…
  • He tries to get people ready for baptism, confirmation, ministry, marriage, parenthood, old age, and finally death
  • He tries to keep people focused on eternity as they rush through time
  • He plans programs and recruits and trains workers
  • He spends considerable time in keeping people out of each other’s hair
  • Between all this, he prepares a sermon and preaches it on Sunday to those who don’t happen to have another engagement
  • Then on Monday he smiles when some jovial chap at the local coffee shop roars, “What a job! I’d like to work just one day a week!”  <Hewett – 352/19>

 

THINGS THE MINISTRY HAS TAUGHT ME

  • I’ve learned quite a bit during my 44 years of ministry…
  • I’ve learned that ministry is definitely not a one day a week job… it really is 24/7
  • Though I’ve joked about being a golf announcer, I’ve learned that there is nothing I would rather be doing than ministry… therefore when the opportunity arose to be your interim pastor, I jumped at it…  ministry energizes me and fulfills me…
  • I’ve learned by experience that, as a minister, I cannot and will not please everyone… if I try to please everyone, I will drive myself crazy… some people’s expectations of their pastor are unfair… some people expect their minister to do the impossible, and they’re disappointed when he or she can’t…
    • there are hurts the pastor cannot heal…
    • there are problems the pastor cannot solve…
    • there are questions the pastor cannot answer satisfactorily…
  • I have learned that much of what I need to know about ministry is not taught in seminary…
  • I have learned that in ministry there are highs and lows, joys and sorrows, victories and defeats… it’s all part of the job!
  • While I am with you, I will try to do everything that is expected of me and then some.
  • You will soon learn that and then some are the three most important words I know.

 

THE FOUR “E’s” OF MINISTREEEE

  • By sharing with you one pastor’s view of his job and a few of the things 44 years of ministry has taught me, I’ve been stalling to give you a chance to think about those four “E’s” that I tacked onto the end of ministreeee… these four “E’s” help me to describe my role as a pastor.
  • Would anyone like to guess what any of the four “E’s” might stand for?  (Educator, Empathizer, Encourager, Empowerer)  I’m going to speak briefly about each one of these roles…

Educator

  • One of my primary roles as a pastor is to teach…
  • I try to teach not only by word, but also by example…
  • There are many lessons to be taught: the Good News of the gospel, the importance of the sacraments, the responsibilities of discipleship, the necessity of faithful stewardship, the history and traditions of the church, the meaning of faith, the power of prayer, Christian values and morals, the benefit of clear communication, the value of working together.
  • As an educator, I try to share very practical ideas that may help you to live in faith on a daily basis and enable you to deal with the challenges you face…
  • Teaching will take place here in the sanctuary, not only during the Sunday morning worship service, but also during funerals and weddings.
  • Teaching will take place in the social hall and wherever church members or the youth of the church and community gather.
  • Teaching will take place beyond the walls of the church – perhaps on a soccer field or a bicycle path, or in a coffee shop or down on the docks…
  • I am always aware of my role as a teacher… it’s one of the things I enjoy most about ministry.

 

Empathizer

  • Another of my roles as a pastor is to empathize…
  • For me, to empathize means to put myself in your shoes… to share your feelings… not to feel sorry for you when you struggle, but to try to understand what that struggle feels like for you and figure out how the church or I can be helpful.
  • During the Civil War, the poet Walt Whitman ministered to wounded soldiers. He said he never asked a wounded soldier how he was. He simply became the wounded soldier… that is empathy… that is love.  <Colaianni - #8>
  • As your pastor, I will share your joys and your sorrows… I will try to understand what you are feeling…
  • Pastors are not mind readers… therefore I invite you to share your joys and sorrows with me… And if there is something you need, tell me…

 

Encourager

  • To my way of thinking, there is no greater ministry than the ministry of encouragement…
  • I am an encourager… I have always been an encourager… I was an encourager long before I became a pastor…
  • There are a number of New Testament scriptures related to encouraging one another - building one another up… the opposite, of course, is to discourage one another or to tear one another down…
  • Encouragement builds confidence…
  • Everyone needs to be encouraged, but few people make the need known quite as clearly as the little boy who said to his father: "Let's play darts. I'll throw and you say 'Wonderful!'"  <Bits & Pieces, December 9, 1993, p. 24. >
  • Even dogs respond well to encouragement: One morning I opened the door to get the newspaper and was  surprised  to  see  a  strange  little  dog with our paper in his mouth. Delighted with this unexpected "delivery service," I fed him some treats. The following morning I was horrified to see the same dog sitting in front of our door, wagging his tail, surrounded by eight newspapers. I spent the rest of that morning returning the papers to their rightful owners.  <Marion Gilbert in Reminisce, Reader's Digest, February, 1994, p. 12.>

 

     Empowerer

  • To empower means to enable…
  • One of the goals of my ministry is to empower people by helping them to find the resources needed to minister to themselves and to one another… as I tried to suggest to the youngsters this morning, I am not the only minister in this church...
  • I hope to empower you to find the resources you need to solve your own problems, to heal your brokenness, and to meet all the challenges of life.
  • I hope to empower you to share your gifts, to serve one another, and to share fully in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
  • While I am with you as your interim pastor, I want to empower you to be the people that God has called you to be and to be the church that God has called you to be.

 

CONCLUSION

Educating, empathizing, encouraging and empowering – that is what I will be doing while I serve The Dennis Union Church…

 

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