I know that ministry during the month of May is going to include three things: a nod to Mothers Day, Graduation recognition, and wondering who will be traveling and who will be sticking around for Memorial Day weekend. Certainly more than those three calendar events are going to happen, and I do not want calendar events to drive my ministry priorities, but I also want to recognize these events because not only are my people are thinking about them but I want to receive them as gifts to make the most of.
I have had some perspective changes towards these and other calendar events that have helped turned them towards the gospel. I want to not only recognize calendar driven events, but also apply the Colossians 4:5 and Ephesians 5:16principle of making the most of every opportunity. In this article, I want to present three choices pastors can make in how we recognize these calendar events and can make the most of them.
Honor Mother’s Day or elevate biblical womanhood?
In our churches, we can choose to honor Mother’s Day, be compassionate with those who struggle with the day, maybe preach an obligatory sermon from Proverbs 31, or we can elevate the calendar event by celebrating biblical womanhood.
For the church to know what the Bible says regarding gender it is helpful, in a celebratory tone, to recognize the great beauty and diversity in which the Lord has made men and women. Celebrate that he made us male and female. Point to how God uniquely formed and fashioned men and women, how in him men and women both find their dignity and destiny in their distinctness.
I write this not only as a pastor who wants to be faithful to the biblical text but also as a husband and a father of three girls. I want my girls to know how incredible it is that God created them to be women. I want them to know the amazing women of the Bible. I want them to know astonishing women of Christian history who changed the world. I want them to engage remind who walk with the Lord daily. I don’t want to give an obligatory nod to Mother’s Day, but, instead, celebrate the internal and external beauty of biblical womanhood.
If I could encourage you, affirm the women in your church. Remind all that not only do mothers matter, every woman matters.
Celebrate your graduates or commission them?
I feel fortunate to be serving a church that has high school and college graduates. I have served in churches where that was not the case. I do not want to minimize their achievements nor do I want to create a precipice for them to tumble down. I want the graduates that I am privileged to shepherd to not just graduate but to be commissioned as missionaries to their next chapter.
Practically, this will involve recognizing those graduates but reminding all that God has enabled them to complete this stage in their lives and has prepared them for the next. Then, pray over them and commission them.
We can either join the world and only celebrate graduates or we can commission them for the Kingdom in the next season of life God has for them
Have a barbecue or recharge?
There is a good chance that you are tired. And so are your people. Many of us are moving at such frantic paces to activities, appointments and, yes, even ministry commitments that we are exhausted. Often, though we may never admit it, many pastors and church members feel as if they are making bricks without straw. We may not need a better mattress to rest on as much as we need a theologically-driven understanding of recreation.
My tendency is to go and go to the point where everything, even what is designed to be enjoyable, becomes another task to get done. A driven schedule does not cause me to be more effective for the Kingdom, but become a pill of a person.
When I have become a pill of a person, God, in his sweet mercy and kindness, will discipline me until I remember two central truths: that He is God and I am not, and that he made Sabbath for man not man for Sabbath. Making the most of May will involve receiving the additional time of rest. A time of rest elevated by the biblical understanding that man is more than chattel.
Memorial Day is a great time to be with people who matter most. Receive the gift of the day to step away from the normal routine. Don’t just have a barbecue, recharge.
We have each been gifted with the same number of hours in the day. While we possess an unknown number of days before us, each day is a gift, so, for the sake of the gospel, let’s make the most of them.