The Ministry of Being

“Being is more important than doing.”  This is a difficult statement for me to accept.  I recently attended a workshop where a few of us dug into our theology of ministry among the poor.  We agreed that one of the pillars of this kind of work is incarnational ministry.  Being.  Assuming a position of intentional powerlessness.

I like the idea, but I also like programs.  I’m a funky mix of visionary and practitioner, which means that when I have an idea, I immediately start thinking 3-­4 years down the road.  Weekend cooking club?  Great idea!  But what if we grow too big – who’s going to fund this?  Where will we meet?  Will we need insurance coverage?  We need a ministry/non-­profit to sponsor us from the beginning so we’re sustainable.  Obviously this is a major movement killer.  On paper, it looks silly.  I mean really, just invite the kids over and teach them how to cook spaghetti.  God will provide.

To take it further, why worry about the program in the first place.  Just be.

I saw this video recently, about a woman named Ludmilla, a widow in the Czech Republic, who resides in the “Embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

I was immediately humbled and encouraged.  How simple.  Be with people.  Celebrate with them, mourn with them, be with them.

What a gift to have nothing to give but myself – just my time, my company and my friendship.

I think this was easier for me when I first moved to Glenwood – it was my only option.  Now, working for a nonprofit in the neighborhood, I think in terms of programs, many of which aren’t really a fit for the non-­profit currently.  I’m finding that I need to retrain my thinking, to find more opportunities to be and less opportunities to do.

This is modeled beautifully in our relationship with Christ – He desires us more than He desires our work – He invites us to be, then do out of the overflow of our time with Him.  Likewise, what a gift to be with our neighbors, then, out of that relationship, do with them.