I came across this quote that was tweeted by Dre Murray, and it resonated with me. The quote from James Baldwin applies to many things, but I immediately thought of how it applied to ministry:
The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
– James A. Baldwin
— dre murray. (@dremurray22) May 30, 2017
Any profession or calling you pursue that is long-term and requires a deep commitment, will expose you to the ugliness that comes as a result of imperfect humans who are in that space. This happens in a unique way when it comes to ministry.
I am not a licensed minister, but I am friends with many who do ministry in church or as music artists. I’ve learned how to manage my expectations when it comes to ministry, based on the things I’ve heard from my friends, as well as through the knowledge of God’s word. He warns of wolves in sheep’s clothing and that we should walk in discernment. But ministers can also be true; yet have faults, emotional issues, and bad habits that negatively impact you.
It is vital that you manage your expectations when it comes to ministry because if you don’t, you will experience disappointment and bitterness when ministers don’t meet what you expected. One way a minister will fall below your expectation is through hypocrisy. You see them one way in public, yet another way in private. That kind of duplicity can mess you up if you’re not aware of how easy it is fake it, or how many around you live like this.
Even Paul expressed in 2 Corinthians 11:26 that one of the ways he was persecuted was through false brethren. It does so much damage that even when you do manage your expectations, it still affects you because of how disappointing it is to experience it happening to you.
This isn’t just a write-up for ministers alone, this goes for anybody who has been affected by the ugly side of ministry that has marred your picture of the Church. Some of you are wounded because you expected one thing and got something completely different. I pray that every wound is healed and you can draw closer to God and His Church, in spite of the evil that occurs in His name, and from people who don’t know how to work with others. They have deep-seated issues they need to deal with and God is near, always ready and able to heal.
Remember that anything that involves humans will bring the ugly side with it. Look unto Jesus as the author and finisher of your faith. Let that be the foundation as you gain intimate knowledge of the ugly side, knowing that the God you minister for will leave no stone unturned.