I always seem to think about what dangers lurk in ministry. Not physical dangers, but dangers to the Gospel. The danger of dismissal is one that I keep constantly in mind.
Dismissal can be filed under ‘categorization.’ What do I mean? Let me explain.
In all of our lives, we have those select few people who are just ‘that guy,’ or ‘that girl.’ They’re just the token ‘____.’
Or, try this scenario out. I’ve recently been in contact with a gal I dated years ago. Nothing romantic – we were just catching up. I’ve learned that in the time following our break up years ago that she’s since ‘lost her faith.’ She thought I’d ignore her or decide that talking to her would be a waste of my time, so she was reluctant to tell me where she was at this point in her life.
This is where I tell you one thing. Be intentional with the Gospel with your relationships in dating and in non-dating. Being intentional with the Gospel of Jesus Christ should drive your every interaction.
Being intentional looks like letting the understanding of who you are and who Christ is drive your interactions.
If you’re tracking with me still, and I hope you are, the young lady was under the impression that my attitude toward her would change. Much to her surprise, it didn’t. To quote her, “…also a good feeling to not be categorized by a religious person, based on that single factor.”
That should mean the world, right? The person will be surprised by knowing that you value them like God does and delight in knowing that you will not disassociate from them based on differing beliefs.
However, keep in mind that you’re not necessarily condoning a different lifestyle or sinful natures. You’re simply showing that person they’re of value, as Romans 5:8 so clearly states: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
That Scripture shows us the infinite value of life and should give us the push we need to love others.
Back to my original point. I am that “token” person. I get typecast as the funny guy. I get overlooked for opportunities to speak or teach because I am funny. While I can deal with it and press on, not everyone can do that and some people get really hurt by church people typecasting them because they’re good at something.
So, for people who know the Lord, make sure that you shuffle positions around in your ministries every so often. This’ll do a couple things — first, it’ll ensure that your people don’t get burnt out, but it’ll also allow for others to bring new ideas to the table and hone new skills.
If you’ve kept reading after my opening couple sentences, congratulations, you’ve already worked against categorizing me. Thank you for that.
This is a cross-post from The Blush Network. The Blush Network is a women’s ministry that works to spiritually challenge the way young women think. Jarin works as the Assistant to the VP.
Jarin Martin is the founder of Congruent Culture and currently works at The Blush Network as the Assistant to the VP. He lives in Dallas, TX.