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Real Life Ministry Versus Professional Ministry

by Allie Marie Smith

I thought I’d share something I’m learning lately: “Professional ministry” can be easy. Real life ministry can be messy.

Unlike a lot of people assume, apart from a few speaking engagements I don’t get paid for the work I do within WM. So while it might not be my paid profession, I can easily let it have the safe parameters of someone who has a big-time ministry platform.

Think of an A-list Christian speaker or author. They fly first class to their speaking engagement, get picked up by their escort and taken to their clean, manicured hotel room. They get treated to a nice meal out, enjoy the company of their host and then go back to their hotel room. They wake up, get a free Starbucks, walk out on stage, give a message they’ve given thirty times before, sign books, smile and then take a flight home.

I admit I’d much rather hide behind my Macbook, share my testimony from time to time and write books or blogs I hope will help someone. But it’s a lot harder, a lot messier to stick my fingers in someone else’s problems and walk alongside them in their brokenness.

I confess that the longer I’m free from my own struggles, the more I like to keep myself at a safe distance when it comes to helping people. I don’t want their mess to spill over into my clean, drama-free life.

But Christ doesn’t redeem us and save us so we can be comfortable.

So I’m trying. Trying to be there for girls God clearly puts in path. Like a 15-year old girl named Maribelle who lives with her mom and four younger siblings in a broken down motel room. She’s experiencing friend drama, just found out her dad has another family and two months ago lost her close friend in a car accident. She thinks it’s her fault and lately she can’t stop believing that lie the world would be better without her. She’s alone, depressed and disadvantaged. That’s real life. Real life ministry.

I’m trying to love in person, in conversation and in action; not just through the words I type or the prayers I pray.

Do you think professional ministry can be easy compared to “real life” ministry? Is it hard for you to stick your fingers in someone else’s problems and be there for them?

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