I’ll never forget my first day of grad school. I felt l was so out of place. Incredibly inadequate. An amateur in a room full of experts.
I’ll never get there, I thought. I’ll never measure up.
It’s been six years pursuing my degree. I’ve written hundreds on hundreds of pages about community development, human trafficking, expat mental health, and human rights. Still, when I sit in a classroom with theorists and philosophers, I feel just like I did the first day of grad school.
Finally, I’ve realized it’s because I’m not a theorist. I’m not a philosopher. I’m a practitioner.
And being a practitioner means that I need to be able to take all the wonderful ideas I learned in the classroom and figure out what they look like practically in my day-to-day life.
As we welcome many of you moving overseas and joining a life a ministry, I want to encourage you in the same way.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours upon hours in the classroom of field preparation, learning about building movements and making big things happen in your personal ministry. And I don’t mean to discount the things you’ve learned at all!
What I do want to do is challenge you to make realistic goals about what it means to walk an obedient journey of ministry in a foreign context. You’re not in the classroom anymore. You’re IN THE THING. You’re a practitioner of ministry.
For my husband and I, living a sustainable ministry life has meant that we are regularly focusing on two to three people that we want to pour into with our time and energy. It’s not global in its impact. It’s not touching the potential for a CPM.
But it is what it is…practical and sustainable. And means a whole lot to us and to the people with which we’re spending our time.
We’ve asked our shepherds and our accountability partners back home to regularly ask us this question: Who are your two or three?
The names will change over your time abroad. And they should. But we can all choose a handful of people with whom we spend intentional time and share intentional conversation. And I deeply believe that will help us all be practitioners in ministries that last.
What do you fear will threaten your ministry life as you move abroad? What are some expectations you have of your life in ministry? What are some sustainable ministry goals you’ve set for yourself? If you’ve been on the field a while, what can you teach us about cultivating a ministry that lasts?
This is The Grove and we want to hear from you! You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.
Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesWelcome. You can add yours!