I love my new ministry as the coordinator for Imagine No Malaria in our conference… but I often have a hard time explaining why.
While there are similarities with local church ministry (which I also love), so many aspects of this position are drawing upon gifts in new and different ways.
But because I am not in the local church, preaching every Sunday, it doesn’t look like ministry to some people.
I think I was having trouble myself with wrapping my head around how and why this was ministry. How and why a pastor should be in my position. The job uses my gifts; I get to engage 800 churches instead of just one; I am engaged in the work of transforming the world (a core part of our mission as the United Methodist Church). I had pieces of the answer, but was still missing something.
Until I read some Nouwen this morning and finally found a missing connection point… the words I need to really claim and explain my work.
Nouwen writes -
Fundraising is, first and foremost, a form of ministry. It is a way of announcing our vision and inviting other people into our mission…. We are declaring, “We have a vision that is amazing and exciting. We are inviting you to invest yourself through the resources God has given you – your energy, your prayers, and your money – in this work to which God has called us.”
God has called us to this work. And every day, I get to proclaim the vision of what will be realized when we answer that call. Every day, I get to send forth the invitation, the call to conversion, that will help us to answer that call with our whole lives.
We are participating in God’s good work and we imagine a world in which children no longer die from a preventable, treatable, beatable disease. We imagine communities of people working together for healing and wholeness. We imagine pregnant women who are healthy and can carry their babies to term without fear. We imagine a global partnership that is able to wipe out death and suffering from malaria.
And not only can we imagine these things, but God has shown us a way to accomplish them. You and me, working together, bringing the best of ourselves and our gifts. That is the body of Christ in action. That is the aim of discipleship. This is a living and giving ministry.
Yes, I am a fundraiser. And yes, I am doing ministry.