I devote a pretty massive part of my life to my work at the church—my official ‘ministry’—but I also have a life outside the church. There’s family events, kid activities, and my own hobbies. There’s parenting groups and soccer teams, basketball friends and school functions, softball teams and work colleagues. We keep pretty busy with non-church events.
It’s crazy how often, however, that these activities turn into opportunities for ministry.
Yesterday, for instance, our kids’ swimming lessons became an opportunity to talk with another pastor family about ministry, connect with a different family that is new to Bozeman and looking for a church, and meet another family that lives in our neighborhood and attends school with Zoe. All in the hour spent at the pool. And today, a quick lunch at Costco before stocking up for our church picnic, unexpectedly led to sharing a picnic table with a student who recognized me from The Rock. I couldn’t find a place to sit and he graciously invited me to share his table. We had a great conversation about his impending senior year, his plans after graduation, and the church he attends. All while just grabbing a slice of pizza.
But these encounters rarely happen unless we are ready, willing, and open to sharing our lives with others.
For each of my fun, encouraging, and unexpected encounters, I’m sure I miss dozens of opportunities. I’m not always ready and open to engaging with others—especially when I’m ‘off the clock.’ My eyes are not always open and my heart is not usually tender enough to recognize the potential for ministry and engagement right in front of me. Or even if I do see them, I’m not always courageous enough to act on those opportunities.
So, here’s to having an open and ready spirit for community and connection as we enter the world. Here’s to always being ‘on-call’ when it comes to engaging our world. Here’s to eagerly putting ourselves ‘out there’ and welcoming the dozens of opportunities to befriend, encourage, and bless others that greet us each day. May we have eyes to see, hearts to care, and the courage to act on those communal possibilities.