So, almost two months into full-time youth directorship (is that a word? I think I just made it up. If it’s not real, dibs on it), and I’ve been discovering something that I’ve only previously heard about. This is something that I had sort of witnessed, but not really experienced myself.
That something is what I’m calling the three P’s of ministry:
Plans. Programs. People.
It is so easy to get distracted with two of these good things, or even one of them, and the other two suffer. It is a fine balance, and one that is not the easiest thing to figure out. I don’t think Christian ministry is the only place that this problem occurs, but it is where I have met the beast. For me, the first two, plans and programs, are things that have to get done in order for things to run properly and smoothly or effectively. But, sometimes the plans and the programs rob me from the very purpose I have set out to plan and program, which is to engage and minister to people!
It’s kind of ironic that sometimes the very tool we use becomes the road block in the way to what we originally were trying to accomplish.
Maybe you’ve found these P’s in variations like productivity requirements, poor working environment/conditions, difficult co-workers, expectations, turning a profit, making a living, etc., etc.
Sometimes making money to provide for the family, working to make the boss happy so we can get a promotion, working with people we may not have the best attitudes towards, working impossibly hard in meager conditions to earn a wage that we can barely get by on, working and working and working… why are we working?
I think this question is what hit me hardest when I was thinking back over the past couple of months. It is easy to quickly forget WHY I AM DOING in the midst of WHAT I AM DOING. So, why do you work?
You may initially think it’s obvious: to make money to provide for my family; so I can take care of my family’s needs; etc.
But are we choosing the right “P” to focus on?
I wrote this post with the thought that I personally need to never forget the people for which I plan and program. Without the people, the plan or the program will be non-existent. People are and will always be more important than a plan or program, no matter how well planned out something is or how amazing of a program is put on; people are the purpose.
Jesus Christ came to the earth as a human because He loved people. God allowed His only Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth to die for your sins and for mine because God loves people (John 3:16). For Jesus Christ, the purpose of His death was people. He died so that people could experience eternal life, and experience an abundant, full life right now. Jesus’ purpose was for people. He loved people and everything He did was so people would know Him and put their faith in Him.
Why do we work? Why do you work?
As followers of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:24), disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), the children of God (John 1:12), our purpose should be people. Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to “Therefore be imitators of God . . . And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us . . .”
So as you go about your life, at work, driving, at the store, at a ball game or a concert, wherever you find yourself, remember that the purpose is people.