Friendship: Leadership version! (Part III)

Who would you rather be: the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner? You’d rather eat and be served, right? But I’ve taken my place among you as the one who serves. And you’ve stuck with me through thick and thin. Now I confer on you the royal authority my Father conferred on me so you can eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and be strengthened as you take up responsibilities among the congregations of God’s people. (Luke 22:27-30)

My husband and I have been in ministry together now for over ten years. 9 of those years we have been a married couple.

Being in ministry presents its own challenges with having friends. I learned very quickly that working in ministry can be very draining. There are a lot of people that “take”. It’s not really as bad as it sounds….Please have a listen to my perspective.

I have come up with a theory that the majority of the people that come through our path as minister/ministry spouse will be ‘takers.’ People come to us looking for comfort. They come to us looking for love. They come to us looking for answers to tough questions. In reality, the best we can do is come along side and help guide their lifeboats in the direction of our incredible God. We can love, we can comfort, we can show them scriptures that give peace to their tough questions. We love to do these things. It’s exactly what God has called us to do and we have confirmed that by the peace we feel in our hearts and souls.

But in order to minister healthily and effectively, I truly believe we need to balance these ‘takers’ in our lives with some ‘givers.’

What is a giver? A ‘giver’ is a person in your life that you would consider someone with a very firm foundation in Christ. Someone who is a mentor-type, whose wisdom you trust. While you may ‘give back’ to a giver by encouraging them, supporting them, etc….you are for the most part one of their ‘takers.’ You see them for the fuel you need to continue your drive in ministry. They act as a ‘lighthouse’.
[**A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.
Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, safe entries to harbors. **]

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I have three amazing ‘givers’ in my life.

One beautiful friend, named Doretta, I am sad to admit I only see once a year. She is a lady, that when I visit my hometown, I make every attempt to see at least once. She is an anointed woman of God who speaks biblical truth over my life and inspires me to be a better wife, mother, friend and servant of the most high God. She encourages me and gives me support in my dreams.

Another ‘giver’ of mine is a woman I rarely see anymore because of geographical location, but feel my time in ministry with her and her husband was pivotal in making me the woman I am today. She has blessed me with a treasure chest of wisdoms that I pull from often. Social networking keeps us connected today, but I cherish those special God-given face-to-face moments with her even today, over 7 years after being in ministry with her. Her name is Carol.

Lastly I consider my Nanny to be one of my ‘givers’. She may be nearly 83 years old but I cherish my time with her so much. She often says things to me that speak directly to my soul- and I’m not even sure if she knows to what level she blesses me. She isn’t afraid to challenge me, she isn’t afraid to share her opinion, and she lavishes me with encouragement. She is daily in the word of God and is still being used to effectively minister to others this very day. I am so very thankful for the blessing she has been to my life.

I think it is important to have these ‘giver’ people in your life when doing any type of ministry. People who have proven trustworthy, people who speak biblical truth over your life, who encourage you, who bring life to your soul. They emit the light of Jesus Christ and help you to navigate through life’s ‘rough waters’ to find your way back to the safe shore, just as lighthouses do. These people will balance the scales of your mental, emotional and spiritual state so that you can continue ministering healthily instead of feeling emptied and depleted by those that ‘take’.

Finally, there are those people in your life who you consider to be your best friends that we will call “giver-takers’. Probably few in number, these people feed your soul as much as they take from it. These people will require your time, and you will require time from them. These people will be people with whom you share friendships of depth. They are the people in your everyday whom you ‘do life with’. (P.S. your spouse should never fit solely in either the giver or the taker category. Your spouse should consistently remain in this ‘giver-taker’ category. But, I will write more on this another day!)

As I conclude, please know that none of these categories are ‘bad.’ We should all give, but we should all take as well in order to live healthy well-balanced lives. You aren’t being a hero by only giving…..Every good automobile runs out of gas. Make sure you are going to the people God has placed in your life to re-fuel and carry on this journey of ministry.

Be blessed.

Father God, thank you for my sisters that so sacrificially give their time in service for furthering your kingdom. I pray that for those who are feeling like all they ever do is give- please open their eyes to the mentor-type ladies in their lives who will help them re-fuel, so they do not feel overburdened doing your work. We know that maintaining a balance between givers and takers will increase our ability to minister and we only want to give you our very best effort. Thank you for your word and your provisions. We love you so much. Amen.

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