The people were amazed because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. – Mark 1:22
I love my new placement this semester. I’m in a small Baptist church in Snellville, GA: few members right now, but LOTS of heart. I’m getting to know lots of nice people, and I’ve already enjoyed bonding with several of them through cleaning, and through Thursday night Bible study. Leading my first Bible study there, and a very special and intimate communion Sunday featuring communion by intinction have been the highlights so far.
Recently, I’ve been driven into contemplation mode because, you know, I’m graduating in May and that fact alone makes me think a lot about how far I’ve come in my studies, in my faith, and how my goals have expanded, grown and changed.
I told one of my professors the other day that every day, I feel more drawn to congregational ministry. It wasn’t nearly as weird or scary to say out loud as I thought it would be. I thought it was maybe just a phase, because of my new placement, but I don’t think it is.
I’m glad you asked. I’ll tell you why.
But first, a little linguistic fun 🙂
The Greek word for “authority,” exousia, comes from two words: “ek,” for “out from” and “eimi,” a form of “to be.”
Which means that, when people were amazed at Jesus’ teaching as one with authority, they were likely impressed with the fact the teaching seemed to come from some where inside him: out from his being.
Think about that.
Last Thursday, I got to lead the Thursday night Bible study. I had a great time picking a text, nerd-illy sitting in the library with commentaries and crafting insightful thoughts and applications to the text for the people who would come to hear God’s word.
The most fulfilling part of the night for me, however, was the closing prayer. Prayer does not come as naturally to me as it does for some – it’s getting better through my writing class this semester – but still.
I had written out opening and closing prayers as a guide, so it kinda threw me for a minute when Pastor Gwen handed me a slip of paper right before I started teaching with a note asking me to take prayer requests before the closing prayer.
Maybe it was because I was feeling extra contemplative that day, maybe I was just in the mood for praying. I don’t know. But I do know that while I prayed, I started getting really passionate
about the church where I’m serving: that it would experience exponential growth
about the people I’m serving: that they would know the love of Christ, and the power of God in their lives,
about my ministry: that it would be one that points directly to Jesus
about our global community: that we may one day live in peace.
All the things and passions that make me who I am: social justice, peace, missions, evangelism, outreach
came out in my prayer, that I tried to stop a few times because the choir needed to practice.
Apparently it had other plans.
If I had to pick one word to characterize what I hope my ministry will be, I’d choose authority.
May it be said of me that
as though it is coming out from inside of who she is.
Actually, I pray that it may be said of all of us. They live as though from a place deep inside themselves,
and may the world know Christ through our love.