By Shawn Lazar
We all have a ministry from God.
In fact, you’re in full-time ministry right now. So…how are you doing? What are you doing? Whom are you reaching?
One of the things I try to emphasize at church is that everyone should be self-consciously serving God in their lives. Not everyone has a visible ministry on Sunday mornings. You might not be the pastor, worship leader, or deacon. But your ministry is visible to someone during the week—to the different neighbors you meet in your different vocations as parents, children, coworkers, bosses, employees, citizens, and so on.
You are ministering to people every day, whether you know it or not.
So what is your ministry?
Taking a Risk
This week a friend shared a blog post called “I Went to a Strip Club with a Pastor’s Wife” by Anna McCarthy.1 It is a good read. It demonstrates that it is possible for ordinary Christians, doing simple things, to reach the unreachable with God’s love.
Long story short, the author was pregnant at the time, and she went with a group of Christian women to visit strip clubs to offer gift baskets and food to the dancers. To their surprise, the wives were allowed into the club to visit with the dancers. McCarthy was surprised to learn these women were just…women. They had terrible jobs, but otherwise they were just normal people with kids and bills and ordinary health concerns.
After consistently going to the strip clubs—and showing their genuine goodwill to the girls—they were slowly accepted by the dancers. The wives got permission to set up a prayer box in the changing room. Eventually, they got permission to start a Bible study! And the dancers attended! All within the strip club!
In a truly heart-breaking moment, one of the dancers told the wives they were not like the other churches. What were the other churches like? As McCarthy says, “Apparently other churches send them hate mail. ALL THE TIME.”
What about sending grace mail?
I don’t know about you, but I would not have thought it was possible to reach dancers inside a strip club. I would have thought it was impossible to do ministry in there.
But these wives did it.
They were already neighbors to these dancers. The wives just decided to be loving neighbors.
A gift basket here. Some food there. A genuine concern expressed through prayer. Treating the dancers like human beings loved by God.
Who can’t show that kind of gracious, loving kindness?
It doesn’t take a special talent. It just takes love and concrete acts of goodwill.
Your Good Works
Are there any unreachable or untouchable people around you? Is there a group of marginalized people that other churches inundate with hate mail?
You might think it’s impossible to reach them with the message of grace. But why not try to reach them by showing grace first?
And remember, the same God Who opened some prison doors to let Peter out can just as easily open doors to let grace in.
Shawn Lazar lives in Denton, TX with his wife Abby and their three children. They enjoy spending their free time doing endless loads of laundry, dishes, and vacuuming. Actually, they don’t enjoy that.
1. See https://faithit.com/i-went-to-strip-club-with-pastors-wife/