What Ministry Has Taught Me While Working in a Library

I have not posted anything here in a good while so I pray that everything is going well with you.  School, work, fatherhood, and ministry have taken up quite a bit of my time as of late.  Hopefully, if things slow down, I will be able to share with you a little bit more.  In the meantime, I’m asking for prayer and patience.

I’m not sure that some of you know but, I work in the library system.  I got this job almost 3 years ago.  To be truthful, this was not my first choice–I’m in the IT field and I kinda miss it–But I’m still thankful in the long run because this experience has given me a glimpse of what the Pastorate feels like.  Let me give you a few examples.

1.  Everyone that comes in needs help in some way.  My branch is open Monday-Saturday.  During the times that we are open, there are several people who come in that need help.  Some of these people are regulars and some aren’t.  This is not unlike your local churches where we have some members that have been there for decades but there are the occasional visitor that will come to worship.

2.  There are some that want your help.  Of the people who visit the branch on a daily basis, there are some folks that really need your help.  It could be looking for a book to read for themselves or their child or looking for directions to a location in the city or faxing paperwork to various agencies or even needing help with research on the computer.  At the church, there are folks that come to worship but they are in need of prayer, healing or a question regarding scripture.  They come because there is something missing in their lives and they feel the church is the place where they can get it.

3.  There are some that don’t want your help.  This is interesting.  There have been many times where a patron has come into the branch and did not or does not want your help.  I could go into several reasons why but that could take a while but to give you one example, we offer free computer classes every week where I personally teach basic computer skills.  Remember those folks that come on but don’t want help?  Well they fit into this category because sometimes, my class attendance may be two to three at the most.  Again, the church is parallel to this scenario.  Some folks will come but will refuse to the help that we offer.  Like the library, there are several reasons why but there are too many to name here as well.  Remember the ones that have questions about scripture?  Well, a lot of churches have bible study during the week with a regular attendance of just a few so, where are the folks that have questions?

So what is my point to all of this?  Well, it’s simple.  Since I have been in ministry longer than I have been at the library, I had to come to terms with the fact that both places are a lot alike.  The only thing in common from my perspective is that I’m at both places and I am also there to serve the folks that come in.  Is it frustrating? Sure.  Are there days where I don’t want to go to either place? Definitely.  However I have to remember that it really isn’t about me but who I am serving and who I am trying to help.  It can be draining mentally and sometimes physically but when it’s all said and done, I know I will be back to do it all over again.

The Organism: Stronger Than The Building

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

 

There has been a tragic event that has happened.  My former church has been burned.  The church where I was raised.  The church where my Dad was Pastor for 17 years.  The church where my oldest was baptized.  The same church where I delivered my very first sermon is now in structural ruin.  I’m trying my absolute best to not let my anger show at this time so, I am asking God and you for forgiveness.

One of the things that we have to remind ourselves of is that the Church is NOT the building where we worship.  Granted we have called said buildings and structures “churches” but the actual church that was established by Jesus Christ is YOU, WE, and US.  Paul made this very clear in Acts 17:24 that God DOES NOT live in temples that are built by man.  Yes, these buildings that we construct are meant for us to worship together corporately and to hear the Word of God preached to us.  Make no mistake, however, if the building collapses, or is destroyed, the church still lives because we are it! Paul goes on the say that cannot think that God Himself is like some piece of gold or a brick.  The children of Israel made that mistake in the wilderness.  We can’t keep thinking that.  Especially when we know better.  Yes, there will have to be a rebuilding of the building but Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church that HE built.  The one not made my human hands.

I’m encouraging all of my friends who are still members there that, while buildings come and go, YOU are part of the organism.  Therefore the Church still stands…