Lessons I’ve learned from serving in church.
February 15, 2011 § 1 Comment
For those of us who have been in church for a while, our leaders have often mentioned that there are many life lessons that can be gleaned from serving in ministry, lessons that will accompany you in the workplace and shape you as a person.
I’ve been serving for over 4 years now, and I’d have to say there this statement is true. While I am always, still learning, I have taken several key lessons with me from the pulpit out into the working world.
1. Remain teachable
No one likes a know-it-all, even if you really (think you) know-it-all. Carry yourself with a spirit of humility, not false humility and general Singaporean ‘paiseh’-ness (no lah no lah…). If someone praises you, accept it humbly and say thank you. It is not a crime to be good. It is only a crime to be full of yourself. If you do something wrong and get corrected, take it with a heart of teachability, accept your mistakes, take responsibility for your actions, right the wrongs as well as you can, and move on and be excellent. No one is beyond correction. Don’t wallow or remain shell-shocked at your mistake and ruminate in it, because that is arrogance and self-pride in thinking that you are beyond making mistakes. We are young, we are fresh, we are inexperienced, we live, and we learn.
2. Have an excellent spirit
Be the best _____ you have been called to be. Your job may not be glamourous, the hours may be long, the tasks may be demanding, seemingly unreasonable at many times. I have been called upon to do work in a few hours, to make more changes than would be considered ethical, to do ‘grunge’ designs I feel nothing for, but at the end of the day, to represent the heart and vision of the ministry. Having an uncomplaining spirit is part of being excellent. The saying goes: If you cannot be trusted with little, no one will trust you with much. So do all that is allowed into your hands, well. For if you cannot manage the small responsibilities (though they may seem menial to you, and ‘beneath’ what you think you should be doing), no one will give you big ones.
3. Honour your leaders/superiors
So you might think (or know) you’re better than them at this or that. They may not be as knowledgeable as you about certain things, but they have still been placed as an authority above you. Honour and give them respect regardless of their competence. You don’t disrespect your mother for not knowing how to use an iPhone or shut down your Mac computer. You don’t treat a person according to their ability or inability to do their jobs, or do your job. Again this goes back to the above statement: if you cannot be trusted with little, no one will trust you with much. If you don’t respect those placed above you, it is unlikely that you will respect those who will be placed under you in future. A good leader is a teacher, not a dictator. A good teacher starts with being a good listener and a willing learner. Honour is a choice. You may submit to a person because they are stronger than you, not because you respect them, and this is not out of personal choice but inevitability. But to choose to submit even when you know that person is not as ‘good’ as you think you are, shows your true weight in worth as a person. That is honour, that is respect.
There are many lessons I have taken away from church, these are but some that have made me who I am. Many of the things I’ve mentioned above I’ve learned the hard way, but I’ve learned anyway, and am still always learning.