May, the perfect whirlwind month!
Graduations, weddings, major holiday celebrating mothers & remembering our war dead as well as loved ones gone before us.
You name it and the month of May seems to have it contained within. However, those of us who must manage the “contained within” rarely feel as if we have the whirlwind month contained at all. I don’t and I’m known to plan ahead; like months ahead. So I’ve dug deep into the AWI treasure trove to find a post that lends itself to those of us who are faithful believers in the Lord and have entered the world of business on his behalf as well as our own.
Today’s post is from 2014 and raises the question about ministry and, well . . . ministry! Even though we have entered the 21st Century with social media, AI and more sophisticated technology than anyone might have imagined; we still hold onto old definitions of things such as “ministry”. Perhaps it’s because the church insists on hierarchical structures regardless of denomination or non-denomination. Ministry remains to be seen as the prerogative of the pastor, evangelist, missionary or other official church-related individual – or group.
Yet, ministry is what every believing person is called to in the Lord. Thus the rise and growth of what is known as “marketplace ministry”. Our calling to business as our ministry to those we meet and serve in the public square! So without much ado, I’m republishing a great 2014 piece that asks the question: is ministry a profession or a lifestyle?
Marketplace Minister or what. . .
So what am I talking about? Profession or Lifestyle.
I’m talking about the use of the word “minister” or “ministry” in our everyday vernacular and how it’s meaning gets pigeon-holed into a “profession” rather than as a lifestyle most women pursue throughout our lifetimes – never realizing it as such!
In fact, the word is usually spelled “Minister” denoting a person who “pastors” a congregation and/or leads a worship service. And “Ministry” is what they do – as a “profession”. See what I mean?
Yet, most women, whether pursuing the business of home/family management; a business or career choice – or both, are ministering in some way to others.
Dictionary.com says this about the meaning of the word as a verb without an object: to give service, care, or aid; attend, as to wants or necessities, i.e. to minister to the needs of the hungry. To contribute, as to comfort or happiness. Now that sounds like “ministry” to me. And it says nothing about being a pastor or leader of a religious community or church!
I think it’s time we took the word out of the closet and used it in the broadest sense of the word. Because I believe we are asked to minister to others using our primary motivational gift and the natural talents, abilities and skills as well as the knowledge and wisdom gained over the years.
Years ago, my spiritual director told me at some point in my spiritual growth, the Lord would tell me my “ministry”. Well, being the impetuous woman I was in those days; I immediately asked PAPA to tell me “right then”. He obliged and I learned it is to write, teach and pray! I had a natural propensity for writing creatively and I’m a natural teacher at heart. And I learned to engage in conversation with PAPA over the years in ways that dropped the “thees and thous” (for which I am deeply grateful I might add).
But that’s me. And this is not the Sunday Series on Wednesday either; so let me move to more temporal thoughts on ‘ministry’.
Could It Be Something Else Indeed?
I believe that ministry and ministering is a “lifestyle“. Yes, it’s a profession but that’s when the word is capital “M”. I also believe that when we meet the needs of others – whether physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual, we are ‘ministering’. Let me give some examples:
1. If a woman with a need for an insurance policy of any type, comes to another who represents an insurance company of high repute and asks for information, knowledge and wisdom – she’s seeking to be ministered to by the agent at hand. When the agent at hand provides information, knowledge and her wisdom; then she’s ‘ministering’ to the needs of the other.
2. When preparing for the wedding of a close relative, I want to give the bride a unique piece of jewelry she’ll treasure forever. I’ll look for a jewelry-maker with the skill to make distinct pieces tailor-made to the woman receiving my gift. I have a need; the artisan has the skill and inclination to meet my need. She is in the service of ministering to me.
I could site other examples i.e. doctor, attorney, therapist, counselor, teacher, etc. But even here we think of these as “professions” rather than a lifestyle of ‘ministering’ to the needs of others.
Finally it is my belief that when we are women in business – especially a small business driven by our passion and destiny-design, we ought consider ourselves as ‘ministers’ to the needs of others and pursing the ministry to which we are uniquely “called“. And we ought consider it a ‘lifestyle’ we choose to pursue.
Here’s the kicker in my mind: When we conduct our business with the idea of meeting the needs of those who come to us, or to those we seek to do business with – then we do it in the understanding of ministering‘. And when it becomes our lifestyle; then we are in ‘ministry’.
When we reach that point; the outcome is bound to be more than just pleasant for us – as well as those we ‘serve‘!
Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, CEO & Visionary Partner
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
Affiliated Women International
Building a Community for Christian Business Women
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