A Ministry of the Mundane

It’s one thing to cultivate this “theology of the mundane” in our own hearts, but it’s another altogether to incorporate it into our leadership. Leadership books often coach readers to evaluate all of life through the grid of “How does this activity contribute to our five- and ten-year goals?” Instead, try accepting that all of life doesn’t have to be driven by the next big moment. Enjoy this present ministry.

We do this in a few ways. First, model in your schedule the kind of healthy spiritual rhythms you’d like others to develop. Second, take the long view of church ministry, where the Spirit of God slowly changes the hearts of his people, rather than making every Sunday “the big Sunday.” Third, work to balance your desire for growth with a commitment to pastor the people in front of us, rather than the people we wish we had.

The mundane isn’t meaningless

Sometimes our well-meaning impulse toward missions and evangelism reduces the mundane to meaningless. We need to recall that God’s Kingdom means he rules over all the earth, not just over what happens on Sunday. It isn’t always the big moments—the dramatic altar calls, the big donations to fund a project, the talented new hire on the church staff—where God is working. The daily, obscure work that fills ministry life matters too. Painting a nursery wall, stuffing bulletins, conversations with neighbors, cleaning up after a potluck—this too is Kingdom work.

For years as a staff member of a big and influential church, I would drive past small churches and think to myself: What even happens there? As if God is only present in mega-ministries.

Pastoring a small church changed that for me. Early on, a young person wrote me a heartfelt note about how my recent sermon series helped them understand the power of forgiveness. I remember thinking, Those sermons, at a church nobody has ever heard of, were somehow used by God in that young person’s life. On another occasion, a confused and recently divorced man stumbled into our tiny church parking lot to speak with one of our elders after everyone had left church on Sunday. That conversation led to this man’s conversion.

God is at work in all kinds of churches in all kinds of different ways. The spirit of Christ is drawing people to himself and changing lives through the church of 100 just as he is in the church of 10,000. He is working in the mundane, the everyday life of the church, even when it seems nothing is happening but an occasional whisper.

This article originally appeared here.

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Daniel Darling
Daniel Darling is the Vice President for Communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC). For five years, Dan served as Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and is the author of several books, including Teen People of the Bible, Crash Course, iFaith, Real, and his latest, Activist Faith. He and his wife Angela have four children and reside in the Nashville area.