Sexy Ministry

Matthew Paul Turner over at "Jesus Needs New PR" had a very interesting post last week.  Read it HERE.  He asks the question, "Is your ministry sexy?"

I think this might be the dream of most pastors as they leave seminary and set out in ministry.  I know it was for me.  I wanted, and to some degree I still want, a sexy ministry - the kind you read books about - the kind that boosts you to regional or even national prominence and creates a demand for the pastor at conferences.

MPT writes about a young Baptist minister in Mississippi whose ministry is far from sexy.  He's in a poor area, preaching about difficult subjects and not the trendy topics you hear about from sexy churches.  He spends hours each week preparing those sermons, visiting an aging congregation, and doing his best to connect with a younger generation that is battling with drugs and dropping out.  It's the kind of ministry that makes you old before your time.

I would venture to say that 95% or better of ministries are far from sexy.  Mine's not and I only know a few that are - most of those are recent church plants, built to be sexy.  So why is every bestselling church leadership book and highly rated conference based around this notion of sexy ministry?

Because its a dream that sells, just like all the "get rich now" books.

I had lunch yesterday with two friends - one an associate pastor and the other a youth pastor.  Both are in unsexy ministry in older congregations, have multitudes of established traditions to manuever around, and play the part of the rope in a constant tug-o-war between groups of church members.  They do ministry with small budgets, or in some cases (especially this year) NO budgets.  In many cases, their authority as ministers isn't recognized and their influence is minimized because they're ministering to people who have been a part of these churches much longer than they have and they've seen dozens of ministers come and go.

As another friend of mine put it, "It's more like selling Buicks than Ferraris." 

For everyone out there who's in the trenches, working insane hours for little pay and very little recognition, my hat is off to you.  Be assured that your ministry is making a difference.  Every one of those kids who grows up to be an active Christian owes that in part to you.  Every senior adult that finds companionship in your visits and whose family finds comfort in your presence during their last moments is different because of you.  Every church you serve and community you touch on that shoestring budget is better because of your leadership.  Keep working.  Keep serving.  Don't let anyone convince you that your work is less than godly.

Remember that your "unsexy" ministry is making a difference for the "unsexy" of God's children.