Some aspects of the ministry are exciting and get a lot of attention—preaching, teaching, and even counseling. These areas seem to be the focus of attention when you talk to people about church. However, there are other aspects of the ministry, equally as vital, that really don’t get much play and no one really ever asks about them. When was the last time you heard anyone talk about planning, preparation, scheduling, or following through returning phone calls?
Paul says in 1 Cor. 10:31 “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” All is an interesting word in the language of the New Testament and it’s very pregnant with meaning. It means “ALL.” Paul is telling us that God expects our best efforts in everything we do—the glamorous and the not-so-glamorous aspects of life.
Preaching should be done to God’s glory and so should planning. How many problems could be averted if we would spend the needed time in preparation and thought before beginning a new venture? (Look for a few thoughts on this in subsequent postings.) A mechanic may be very skilled in the actual “turning wrenches” part of his job but if his billing system is haphazard he’s going to lose money. A businessman may have a great product or service but if he isn’t diligent to follow through on returning phone calls he’ll soon be looking for other employment.
I do a lot of administrative “stuff” and it’s really the part of my ministry that takes the most time. Frankly, I really enjoy it. I love to see plans come together. I love to watch things happen smoothly at church functions. But as anyone in ministry or business can tell you, those things don’t just happen on their own. The nuts and bolts of everyday business and ministry require a commitment to “do all to the glory of God.” Yes, your paperwork needs Jesus, too. Since we believe that the Gospel informs all areas of life we need to be committed to excellence in the boring things as well as the thrilling. We can’t afford to complain that the paperwork is keeping us from getting things done. The paperwork is part of the job. Someone else may need that paperwork to do their job properly. Your good recordkeeping will save you time later on by not requiring you to spend several hours researching product vendors for something you’ve purchased previously. By already having the information handy you will have eliminated a potential source of frustration. Doing the small and boring things well will give you more time to spend on the parts of your job or ministry that you enjoy the most.
Not everyone enjoys calendars and task lists and the minutiae of administration. But all of us have an obligation to glorify the Lord in everything we do. Paperwork needs Jesus, too.