Safe Ministry

I ran into a family who used to go to our youth group and church.  After we exchanged pleasantries I asked where they were attending now.  She looked at me with a sort of guilty look and mentioned a church down the street. 

 

She described the church and how it had everything they needed for their family and especially the youth group.  “The boys open doors for the girls and they pay attention during the message… it’s just…”

 

“Safe?” I said.  She looked at me a little shocked.  (I’ll admit, my tone of voice wasn’t the kindest.)  But then she just nodded like that was exactly the word she was looking for. 

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I want our students to be safe.  We strive to offer a safe environment for them to come on Wednesday nights.  But let’s face it: if you’re ministering to students who might have never heard about Jesus Christ you’re going to have a few issues. 

 

Is it safe?  No.  It’s dangerous.  Thank God. 

 

Maybe that’s just me defending our cause.  Or maybe I really do believe it. 

 What do you think? Is ministry safe?  If it is, are we still ministering to the people who need it?

14 Responses to “Safe Ministry”

  • Christi D. says:

    Great post Anna! We are dangerous…and that’s the best place to be! (right in the middle of the battle)

  • Kyle P. says:

    Radical ministry – the kind that joins the Divine with blood, sweat and tears – isn’t safe in the least bit. You could choose to do “safe” ministry, but you would miss out on the Divine. From my experience, God ususally shows up on the scene where it’s the most risky.

  • Theresa says:

    Let’s change it from safe and dangerous to Easy or Challenging. When it comes to my kids I want them to be Challenged. I want them to know the wonders of God. I want them to be taught by more than just me that His power is mightier than everything else in the world. You keep being dangerous and challenging!!!

  • Cindy Beall says:

    Really great point, Anna.

    I think ministry can be both. Let me explain.

    Yes, we should be ministering to those who may have never heard about Jesus. If we do, we will encounter ugly stuff such as drugs, alcohol, violence, and dare I say it? Sex and pornography.

    However, we can’t say that those people at the church down the street aren’t being ministered to. (I’m not saying you are, but some people do.) They may be comfortable in their pews but we both know that things aren’t always as they seem. Yes, it may be safer over there, but there are still a plenty of things that need to be dealt with.

    I think you are right where you need to be. I love your heart for ministry and am proud of you for defending your calling as well as putting your life on the line for the gospel.

    God must be smiling upon you, my dear.

  • Great post, Anna. I would even argue that if you’re doing safe ministry, you’re not ministering.

    The people who really need ministered to are dangerous. Emotionally. Physically. So if you want to minister to those who need ministry, you better be willing to live dangerously!

    a.k.a. – BRING IT!

  • Nothin’ safe about you! Keep on living your life on the edge!!

  • roger says:

    Looks like those parents aren’t ready for their kids to be warriors yet.

  • Anna says:

    Cindy–You’re absolutely right… and I tried to tie that portion into the post but it got too long (and we all know what people do with long posts…) I know the people at the Church Down the Street are in as much need of ministry as the other. (Sometimes more so, if they’re stuck in religion, hypocrasy…etc.)

    It just gets on my nerves when people who know the truth can’t seem to understand that we NEED them to help us with those who don’t! I could really use those students who left. They are strong Christ-followers, great examples… but I feel like they are hiding in their safe church and not allowing God to really use them as he could….

    Now I’m rambling…

  • aaron says:

    life shouldn’t be safe.

  • Jessica Yates says:

    I recently had a conversation with a fellow teacher that asked, “Aren’t you worried that ‘those kids’ are going to ruin LifeChurch’s image?” I wish you could have been there for that response 😉

    I’m right there with you. Let’s live dangerously and bring ‘those kids’ to Christ!

  • Anna says:

    Jessica–I wish I could’ve been there! I love that question! “those kids” are the image of Lifechurch… making the lost found!

  • Jenn Cady says:

    Safe only in the Arms of God not Safe in our Sunday Morning Boxes! Great POST!

  • Cindy Beall, sex AND pornography? Does it have to be both, I mean, couldn’t you just pick one or the other to deal with? Sorry, couldn’t resist. (grin)
    Anna, personally I think “safe” is another one of the most comfortable lies you’ve ever been told. It feels good to our hearts, less filling, tastes great…etc. You might be surprised at just how much danger is around you if you challenged it. Even the “dangerous” like safety when they can find it.
    Sometimes all you have to do with young people, is let them know that “playing it safe” with the topics of conversation, isn’t required. Of course, sometimes you have to let them test that before they’ll buy it. (grin)

  • Elizabeth says:

    I struggle with this! I really have a pull toward both ends of this!

    As far as church goes, we finally decided we had to go with “safe”. For some of the same reasons that we’re homeschooling, we really believed we needed our children to learn HOW to be the light before they could properly be the light. We want to ground them in their faith before we put them in situations of trials and temptations.

    For us, as the parents and adults, we don’t need to be safe. I believe, like you, that we can’t be safe to be effectively ministering to everyone (and that’s who we’re called to minister, right?) But, ministering doesn’t just happen at church. In fact, the most powerful and effective ministry happens outside church, I believe.

    So, we’ve chosen a “safe” church to help us raise our children so they will be able to grow up to effectively minister to the “dangerous”.

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