Thoughts on Ministry

3 comments Written on August 29th, 2011     
Filed under: Reflection
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Margo Banakis, DeerGrove Covenant, IL

I am home after nine weeks of eating, breathing, and sleeping ministry. Nine exhausting weeks that broke me, pushed me, and ultimately gave me new life. I didn’t go into my summer with very many expectations. After being away at college for a year I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what the world was about. I felt like an adult and secure in my own skin, ready to take on a few weeks of counseling at Covenant Harbor Bible Camp in Lake Geneva, WI. Having grown up going to camp and working on a camp kitchen crew I was fairly confident I knew what I was getting myself into. I was wrong.

Entering in a new staff was overwhelming, and as I learned about all the expectations I could only see the rules I was sure I’d break at some point. I kept telling myself “You’ve only signed up for a summer, you can do anything for a few weeks.”  However as the weeks went by my perspective changed to saying, “You only get to do this for a summer, you only have a few weeks.”

Ministry is an interesting thing, and before this summer I never really understood why people would choose ministry as a full time job. I thought it was great that people wanted to share who God was others, but the action of pouring yourself and your talents out over and over again just looked draining. I didn’t get how people could be called to be missionaries in countries they had never been to, or when people with careers suddenly decide to follow the call to be a pastor right away. I couldn’t grasp why someone would say “sign me up for the broken, the needy, and the lost. From the outside, ministry is a hard thing to understand.”

The biggest concept I took away from this summer was the importance of ministry. I saw girls transform drastically in the timespan of a week. I am in awe of God, once again. God powerfully broke down walls that the world had put up. He dug deep into their brokenness, healed them, and sent them home brand new. I had girls who told me camp was the only place they felt loved in their life. I had girls who felt betrayed and alone, ask me what it meant to pray. They changed in front of my eyes and I was reminded once again that I wasn’t quite as adult and secure as I liked to believe. Parents often thanked me at the end of the week for taking care of their kids, and sometimes I wanted to ask “do you know how incredible your child is?” I wanted to ask if they were aware that they were raising a gift from God who has such beautiful questions and dreams.

Normally people are able to take out a few moments in their life that are truly life changing. For me, throughout my summer of counseling, every day was life-changing. It was with these girls that I realized what many already know. It’s worth it… ministry is worth it. The draining, exhausting, and irritating parts are outweighed when you see someone make steps in their faith. It is one of the few jobs you cannot do on your own. To do ministry well you need a community, you need lots of prayer, and you certainly need to be in tune with God.

I can see why youth pastors spend retreats sleepless. It is because that one late night conversation with a student is why they went to seminary. It is clear to me now why pastors are willing to move their families from place to place, because God is telling them, “There are people here who need to know me, can you help me out?” And their response is yes.

Ministry is not for those who have it all together it is for those who have committed to help God help others. We are all called to minister to those around us and it is hard work. But if you stick with it long enough you will see God’s growth. Sometimes it is an attitude change, sometimes it is the flood of peace you receive knowing you have planted a seed. God’s growth looks different in everyone but looking at someone making a baby step towards Christ makes ministry worth it and there is nothing more beautiful.

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3 comments “Thoughts on Ministry”

Margo, thank you for sharing what God gave you this past summer. You get it! 

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Thanks for sharing, Margo. I’m so thankful that you poured yourself into our campers this summer, and especially into my own incredible son, with great questions and dreams. I am confident that God has and will fill you back up, but praying for you anyway. with love,

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Margo, I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with you. Ministry only works when one is willing to take that leap of faith and wait patiently for God to work. You did such an amazing job this summer, and this is so beautiful. Love you babe.

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