I’ve been frustrated lately. Frustrated with my family, friends, work…just life in general. I haven’t been sleeping well. My body feels like I was beaten up during my sleep each day I wake up. One morning I literally woke up with a 3-inch scratch along my face, with no recollection of the incident. I carried that frustration to work today, and even while I could fully acknowledge my moodiness, I still couldn’t ‘right the ship’ enough to even be cordial with others.
FINALLY, the time came for me to leave the office, and I went on a bike ride along Jupiter Island. As I rode past these million-dollar estates, I was more and more frustrated. Here I was, trying to live on a pastor’s salary, and these millionaires aren’t even living year-round in their beach front properties. I kept peddling and peddling, hoping to wear myself out enough to forget my emotional state.
And then, when I was out of breath and my legs aching, I stopped in front of a church. Christ Chapel; the only church on the island. As assumed, it was beautiful. And for some reason, I just sat and gazed upon it as I caught my breath; it exuded a sense of peace amongst an over commercialized, individualized, and materialized world.
I often wish I could simply be a pastor at a small church, just like this one; where I could study theology, have candid conversations with my neighbors, know everyone’s name, and lead worship–that’s all I want. I don’t need the fundraisers, the meetings, the public relations, the organizing of volunteers, or the crummy hours.
And then, after contemplating this ideal church and this ideal call to ministry, I realized that my roadblock had been passed. Christ Chapel…Christ’s Chapel. We are called to be Christ for the world today. And then I started reflecting on my day. The conversation with my Head of Staff about the Church as the body. A discussion with a beloved member about our calls into ministry. A story from one of the elders sharing his experiences of service. It all began to come together.
The Church is simply called to be. It does not need fancy programs. It does not need stewardship drives, or perfect budgets. It doesn’t need mission statements, because the mission of the Church has been the same since its formation: be Christ to the world. And as ministers, our expectations don’t need to be convoluted. We don’t need the perfect PIF, or the snazziest sermons, or the most current staff model, because our calling has always been the same: lead the congregation to realize its identity as Christ for the world. And if we earnestly seek to be Christ on Earth, then what honestly can stop us. Yes, there are always budget concerns, staffing conflict, membership arguments, and a need to feel important and relevant. But if we exist to be Christ for the world, then we have done our jobs. Community will blossom. Hospitality will transform. Worship will glorify. And maybe…just maybe…we will allow the peace of Christ to embrace us.