Last August Ajith Fernando wrote To Serve is to Suffer in Christianity Today, an article that recently received an EPA Higher Goals Award. This is a great read for anyone in ministry, missions, or thinking about going into those fields. Fernando addresses vocational ministry and its elements of frustrations and fulfillment, commitment and community, our drivenness and servanthood, and the glory of the gospel.
Here are a few highlights:
- “If the apostle Paul knew fatigue, anger, and anxiety in his ministry, what makes us think we can avoid them in ours?”
- “The Cross must be an essential element in our definition of vocational fulfillment.”
- “A church that has a wrong understanding of [vocational] fulfillment for its workers will certainly become sick.”
- “This may be one reason why the church contains so much shallowness. We have measured success by the standards of the world and fail to challenge the world with the radically different biblical way to fulfillment.”
- “When people leave a church because they do not fit the program, it communicates a deadly message: that our commitment is to the work and not to the person, that our unity is primarily in the work and not in Christ and the gospel.”
- “People who are unfulfilled after pursuing things that do not satisfy may be astonished to see Christians who are joyful after depriving themselves for the sake of the gospel.”