College and Seminary do not adequately prepare you for all the demands of ministry. Some things you need to know already or learn on the fly. This is especially true as the pastor of a small Church in a smaller community. It has been busy around the Church and here are some of my skills that come out the week of Christmas.
1. Sweeping and Mopping. I want everything to look perfect for all the guests we will have this weekend. Often the work starts out ground level with cleaning some of the floors.
2. Purchasing. Numerous supplies are needed to make the weekend come together. An extra strand of lights, lighters, batteries, and candles were some of the items on the list. I am sure more stuff will be needed.
3. Decorating (at least helping). I am not a decorator, but I can place things where I am told. Occasionally my thoughts are needed to make everything look stunning around the Church.
4. Candle trimming and prep. I know a lot about candles. Things like how to store them for a year and how to prep them for use. Every candle is burned, and then the wick is trimmed for a beautiful look at our program.
5. Moving (plus stacking and unstacking). The stage has been cleared and will then need to be reset after the program. Decorations have been brought out and unpacked. Eventually, all this will have to go back into the tubs and then back into storage.
6. Taking Instructions. Many times, I just need to do what I am told. Move this, buy that, clean this, throw that away and whatever else needs to be done.
7. Emptying trash. This time of year seems to fill the trash can over and over. The dumpster is already full and will probably end up that way again in a few days. Wrapping paper can fill a trash can.
8. Advertising. We need to get the word out about our services (Friday @ 6:30 pm & Sunday at 9:00 am and 4:00 pm). I try to think of every free way to spread the word.
9. Creative Teaching. I was taught in Bible college to study the text and discover the authors intended meaning and then preach it. That part is easy, the tricky part is preaching on a story everyone has heard in a new and creative way.
10. Prayer. This week I have tried to spend extra time in prayer. I am praying for everyone involved in the program and especially all the guests who will come to a program. I pray their hearts and minds are open to the message of Jesus.
Weeks like this remind me of a couple of simple truths. First, the work of the gospel is for everyone. I may be a trained professional, but my job only requires 5-10 hours of that training this week. God can use anyone willing to step up. Second, ministry often happens in the little things. A clean floor or an empty trash can do not seem like much until you want one. A candle burning on the stage is a simple object until God uses it in the worship of him. This weekend, a kind word, an open door, a handshake, showing someone the nursery, passing a tray and a hundred other things will help people experience God. When you are willing to do anything to see the kingdom of God furthered, then every little action helps the cause of Christ.