You Can’t Waste Your Ministry

rural_countryside wikimedia Margaret_Mitchell

I wanted to be a chemist since I was in elementary school. Originally, I wanted to work in forensics (and this was before CSI made forensic chemistry so popular), but in college I found myself drawn to bio-organic synthetic chemistry. (I use fancy, technical words to make myself look smart.)

After graduating, I did research and synthesis for a small pharmaceutical company. I left that company within three years, and went to work for Michelin, in their chemistry lab. Some folks in the pharma industry said I was making a mistake by leaving that field, explaining that pharmaceutical research is more profitable, intellectually challenging, and cleaner than petroleum chemistry. They were mostly correct, but I didn’t hesitate or think it was a mistake.

Years later, I left Michelin to join the staff at our church. Again, some thought I was crazy, but that was tempered by encouragements that I was “becoming a minister” and “answering God’s call” (their words, not mine). Some family and co-workers thought it was a mistake, or at least a waste of my education.

And in 2010, when I was transitioning off of staff at Grace, I thought I would go back into chemistry, but God had other plans. I soul-searched, and I was humbled. I realized that one day I may go back into chemistry, but even if I didn’t, the years of education and experience in chemistry would not have been a waste.

You Won’t Be Wasted in Rural Settings

Much ado has been made of bringing the gospel into the city, into urban settings. Since most people live in cities, and since Paul used this model, many Christians are excited to move to and be missional in cities around the country and world.

But this is not to say that the rural areas don’t matter. Don’t think that bringing the gospel to more rural areas is a waste. Jared Wilson surprised many by moving from bustling Nashville to a small town in Vermont. Part of his story is shared here, and in the video below:

My Journey

Similarly, years ago a friend of mine moved from the Greenville (SC) area to New England, to work in a para-church ministry. He was the first to open my eyes to the idea that you could be a missionary right in the USA, in areas that are full of churches but void of the gospel.

It’s never about where you go or what you do, but why you are doing it. Gospel-centered, Christ-glorifying ministry is never a waste.

Yes, maybe God wants you to do ministry in a city or suburb. Or maybe you need to trust Him by moving to a remote or rural area, like Allendale. (Want some more reasons to move to Allendale?)

Wherever you make Jesus known, it is never a waste.

Related Links:

**image courtesy of Margaret Mitchell [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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