Here are some further thoughts on Henri Nouwen’s book In the Name of Jesus, here delving into Part Two: From Popularity to Ministry.
Doing Ministry Together
I was deeply impacted by Nouwen’s emphasis on the fact that ministry is shared and not something in which we strive “to do something spectacular, something that could win [us] great applause” (53). How often our motivation in ministering is aimed at that wrong end: praise, attention, recognition, accolades. We are so bent on others’ opinions that we miss the true nature of ministry.
True ministry involves proclaiming the gospel together, not just standing around talking together, but trusting that “the same Lord who binds us together in love will also reveal himself to us and others as we walk together on the road” (59).
Think of that. As we engage in ministry with others, are we so together in it that we trust God to reveal himself to and through us to others?
Or are we competing with others for the praise and glory of ourselves in the eyes of other humans?
Who We Are – Who We Are Not
We need to know our identity. It is not about us, but about God.
We are not the healers, we are not the reconcilers, we are not the givers of life. We are sinful, broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for. The mystery of ministry is that we have been chosen to make our own limited and very conditional love the gateway for the unlimited and unconditional love of God. (62)
If you skimmed that section, read it again.
Do we know who we are and who we are not when it comes to ministry?
This is the struggle.
This is the joy of doing our ministry in the name of Jesus.