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Finding A Ministry


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As I have indicated before, I live in an extremely fundamental (though most everybody else here would say “traditional”) community. Not just my small town but the whole region is, well, conservative. I've had difficulties trying to find/start a more open-minded, not to say progressive, community. I've come to the conclusion that I need to avail myself of any community I can, if for no other reason than to meet people.


I have a gift, or perhaps I should say a talent for listening or understanding. It has allowed me to be a kind of mediator. When techies were trying to explain something to non-techies in my job, I seemed to be the translator. When there is a misunderstanding in the conversation, I usually see where the breakdown occurred and am able help clear up the misunderstanding. I seem to be a magnet for people who want to talk, who need a shoulder to cry on, or just need a friend. I was thinking that perhaps I could use this talent in some way in a ministry in community, perhaps in conjunction with my music. I wonder how I could use this without being presumptuous.

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Guest billmc

This is just my 2c, Yvonne, but I think that the fact that you know what your gifts and talents are is a huge step in the right direction.


I am inherently the kind of person who likes to see "big results." In the past in my life, I have often gauged truth or effectiveness by quantity. I figured that if something was really "of God", then there would be a massive change in things. While that may sometimes be the case (rarely, imo), it seems to me that God starts out or works effectively with the small, with the mustard seeds.


For instance, like you, I can't find a progressive church in my area. Most churches in my area are not progressive in their views. The local UU's, God bless 'em, seem to be afraid to say the word "God" or "Jesus." But I've found this little Sunday School class in my local UMC that I discovered is VERY progressive once I got to know them. We are friends, I love them, they love me, and we can talk about anything. Nothing is off the table. But we have no illusions about reforming the UMC. :) So we just use whatever gifts we have and work in our local neighborhoods for peace and justice. It seems to be a good fit for now. And I'm enjoying that it is small.

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Its sounds to me like you are in your ministry already at your job and among friends. Perhaps one doesn't need a church to make peace, listen and advise or console others. It seems to me, opportunities always seem to present themselves when we are ready and there is a need. Of course the more difficult part in my experience seems to be recognizing those opportunities that present themselves. :)


Sometimes it seems the biggest rewards are found in the smallest things.

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Glad I read Joseph's post before I responded to your post, Yvonne! He says pretty much what I was thinking.


Our gifts are revealed, often opened in stages much like unwrapping a literal gift package would be, through the events as they occur in our lives and how we respond to them. We are often as surprised as anybody in the kind and nature of our gifts that emerge in the course of everyday life.


I, like you, have that gift of being able to break down the complex into parts as needed to help others understand something. In another life, I might have been a technical writer, or a how-to teacher.


The most surprising of my gifts, that I don't often talk about, is that of death and bereavement counseling. I didn't golookingforit,I still don't 'put myself out there' as such, with any thought of 'offering my service.' It has always happened spontaneously, and I intend to leave it that way. The recipient of this gift is often someone I do not know well or even at all. It can be a stranger sitting near me in a public place, that just spontaneously starts talking about their dealing with either their own near-pending death or that of another, or the loss of a close loved one. I usually know nothing of them, the details of their situation, I do not know where the right words to say come from, just that they do. So I just let the contact happen when and where it does, and trust that the Spirit has used me, has brought me and this person together, if only for a few minutes between strangers, because that person had a need I was able to respond to. Perhaps in another life, I'd have discovered this gift earlier, pursued training toward being a hospice chaplain or some such. But that wasn't as it was meant to be, or it would have happened that way, instead of how it has.


When it comes to offering our gifts of service as intended by the Spirit, I am reminded of a parable I've heard told, of two men that passionately wanted to serve God. One man pursued this goal diligently, was in church for every service, at prayer before the altar, beseeching the Lord to tell him how he could serve, to call him to a mission or a ministry. Year after year, this man continued his appeal to the Lord, faithfully waited in vigil before the church altar, waiting for God's call to service.

The second man just never seemed to get it quite together. He'd begin his journey to the church every Sunday morning, but always somehow got side-tracked. Perhaps it was a neighbor needing help to pull a cow out of a mudpit. Or sometimes, he'd see someone hungry and cold, and have to return home to fetch them some food and warm clothes and shoes. Always something, so that he was always very late for church service, inciting the glowering frown of the minister, deacons and other church members as he tried to quietly slip in, or so delayed, he never even made it to church at all.

Which man do you think found God's call to service?



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