Ministry opportunities! Those words should make us smile, cause our hearts to skip a beat, and stir us deeply in our souls. At least, it should for those of us who are Christians. There are two things that should be at the very heart of who we are as the people of God: evangelism and ministry. And I have discovered that one of the best avenues to accomplish evangelism is through ministry. I have had the privilege of leading many lost people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because of ministry opportunities. Visiting the sick in hospitals. Volunteering at a school. Giving a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name. Ministry comes in many forms and is accomplished by all kinds of people. Picking up limbs in a neighborhood, feeding the hungry, loving on senior adults, etc. There are not enough pages in the world to contain all of the possibilities.
Sadly, for many Christians, the words do not make them smile, cause their hearts to skip a beat, or stir us deeply. Instead, it brings a deep sigh and the dread of having to do something new. The exhaustion of having to add something else to the schedule. The fear of failure and embarrassment. Very often, these concerns lead to ministry paralysis. In other words, we don’t do anything, and child of God, that is not an option. Jesus told us to go into the world and make disciples. One of His primary methods was ministry, and that is what He commands us to do. No matter how old we are, He has ministry opportunities for us. No matter how educated we are, He has ministry opportunities for us. No matter how tired we are, He has ministry opportunities for us. In fact, they are everywhere. Some of these opportunities are large and can impact an entire community. Some are small and may impact a single person. Both are of equal importance when they are our God-given assignments.
One of the most amazing assignments God has ever given me was to drive a school bus. Yes, you read that right. Our church had been praying for ways to get involved in the little school in our community, but we had been denied every time we approached them. They didn’t hesitate to ask us to use our facilities for their graduation, but it was unacceptable for us to do ministry there. Some of you teachers will not believe this, but we weren’t even allowed to volunteer at the school. Until one day I read an article stating that churches would be required to have drivers with CDL licenses for their 15 passenger vans. I started investigating the possibility and saw that our county school board was offering CDL training for potential bus drivers. All they asked in return was that you be willing to serve as a substitute bus driver. “I can do that,” I said. So I went through the training, received my CDL, and did my time as a substitute bus driver.
Then one day, the call came. The head of the transportation department called me and said, “Pastor, we would like to start a new bus route and wondered if you would be interested.” My first thought was, “Absolutely not!” but then the Holy Spirit prompted me to ask, “Where will the new route be?” “Swift School in Bon Secour just down the road from your church.” Still, in my heart, I wanted to say no, but the Spirit wouldn’t let me. So I said, “I will be willing to do it until you can find someone else.” Famous last words! But I did it. And within a few months, our church was painting, doing landscaping, building things, providing food, and so many other things for that little school. Suddenly, we had become their partner, and God blessed us with countless opportunities to minister to families and see them come to know Christ. All because of a driver’s license.
Ministry opportunities are everywhere; we just need to be obedient when the opportunities come our way.