Today was the last day of the Bible Centred Youthwork conference, a conference dedicated to focusing the work among children and young people in our churches on the principles and content of the Bible.
I have been sharing my notes for each day and a simple thought/reflection on the what particular struck me that day. Here are my notes and thoughts from the last session on Day 4.
Ministry is a long-haul work
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Ministry is hard work. It can be hard work physically, requiring lots of energy visiting people, going to meetings, setting up, and packing down. It is certainly hard work emotionally, as you invest in people, care for them, and pray for them. It is hard work in terms of purity, especially as we are often on our own when we study and prepare for preaching/teaching. But one of the ways that it is undoubtedly hard work is relationally.
Faithful ministers of the Gospel widen our hearts for the people we serve (v11). We open ourselves up to people and our hearts become exposed and vulnerable. The danger is that this widening of heart is often only ever one-way, that the pastor, minister, youth/children’s worker is expected to love and care for their people (which is what we want to do) but the reciprocal action of the church widening their hearts to us is often rare, if ever experienced (v12). The people we serve must widen their hearts also, to love and encircle pastors and Gospel workers with protection and care (v13).
How the long-haul of ministry might need to have an impact on us
- Relax. God is sovereign and works through our humble faithful service.
- Expect criticism, but don’t think every criticism is valid or helpful.
- Look after ourselves. Get sleep, eat sensibly, maintain physical and emotional health.
- Trust God and what he had promised in his Word, God is faithful and he will do what he has promised.
My thoughts from the conference as a whole
Talking with people over lunch before heading home, I know I am not alone in thinking that this was one of the best BCY conferences in terms of being both biblically sound and practically useful. Martin Salter’s talks from 2 Corinthians 2-6 have been really useful for the heart and soul of people who labour in ministry. Ted Turnau’s sessions on engaging popular culture have been really useful for the head and the hands of people who disciple and pastor people in and around popular culture.
As Ted would say, ‘it was awesome!’