Summer is a time when ministry seems to slow down with the exception of ministry opportunities such as Vacation Bible Schools and Mission Trips. There are still the regular day to day responsibilities but generally summer is a little more relaxed. Often we spend time reviewing what we have done and making plans for what we need to do in the coming season. It is a time of getting feedback, trying to figure out how we can do things better and what changes could or need be done. Maybe the soccer teams are doing the same thing since they have returned home.
So, what is the best way to get this balcony view—the term that is used quite often? How can we learn to step back and see the whole picture? What are some ways that can help us understand the changes that we need to make—especially in light of the previous blogs on this post. Do we need to make changes? At what point are we being too comfortable in our ministry? Can we become too comfortable?
Someone told me the other day that the best way he receives his balcony view is when he is on vacation. He does not think about his work of ministry but, by a natural process and not being forced into evaluating, self-analyzing, or asking for feedback, his time of Sabbath gives him a clearer view. Maybe there is a connection between God giving us clear pictures and Sabbath.
What helps you see the bigger picture?
But…is there a danger in all this? What happens when we try to plan everything, fix every problem, organize every day and control every ministry opportunity in the coming season? Eugene Peterson states in his book Run with Horses, “Life is ambiguous. There are loose ends. It takes maturity to live with the ambiguity and the chaos, the absurdity and the untidiness. If we refuse to live with it, we exclude something, and what we exclude may very well be the essential and dear—the hazard of faith, the mysteries of God” (pp. 202-203).
So maybe a better question is how do we get a balcony view of ministry and yet understand the mysterious ways of God?