Remember Love and the Kingdom - An Ordination Message

These are the main points from an ordination message I gave two weeks ago at the ordination for Jason Wilson in Alma, MI. He is now the youth minister in Mt. Pleasant, MI.


Hollywood is filled with many people lifted off of the page of comic books with superpowers. There is the Joker, Spider-Man, Dr. Octopus, Superman, Professor X - the list goes on. Each one of them has super talents that makes them greater than most, but they all aren't heroes. Something besides ability seperates heroes from villains, and I propose that is love.

John 13:34-35

"I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Every vocation has its obstacles to love. Being a paid minister opens up a few obstacles that many of us don't face.

First is the obstacle of study. For many, study seems to become an end in itself. It needs to just be a tool that makes us more loving. The Bible nevers says that we are Christians based upon the amount of knowledge we have. Be careful not to spend too much time studying in the office to the exclusion of loving in the streets, houses, and other events of the community.

Second is the obstacle of numbers. You can think you're doing a good job if you're growing numerically. But even the Detroit Lions can attract a crowd week in and week out. Just because more poeple are coming doesn't mean that your church is more Christ-like. Measure your success by love, not by numbers.

Third is the obstacle of programs. They are sometimes necessary in order to bring the body together. However, all of the programs you can think of, even if organized and conducted flawlessly, don't mean you have a successful ministry. Only if the people you are ministering to become more loving can you say that a program was successful.

Fourth is the obstacle of projects. With that, I mean turning people into projects. Too often we find people with a need and turn them into a project to be fixed rather than a friend to be loved. Effective ministry will rarely happen if we view those we minister to as projects rather than friends.

Christ didn't come and just teach us about love; he showed us what it means to be loving people. Teach love. Preach love. But most importantly, live a life of love. Always keep the love of Christ central to your ministry.

Now, I would like to talk about beer goggles. For those who don't know what beer goggles is, it is a phrase that is used when drinking. It explains the crazy tendency that some people have to view uglier women in a different light due to the alcohol flowing in their veins. Beer goggles make ugly women pretty, at least in our eyes.

I would encourage you to not put on beer goggles, but to put on similar goggles, kingdom goggles. When you put them on, you see everyone in the light that God sees them rather in the fallen light that reality shows them in. The fallen can be great followers of Christ. The weak can be strong in the Lord. The blind can see what God is showing them. When we are so full of Christ and His cause, we begin to see people and the world the way he does. We see everything through kingdom goggles.

Matthew 6:33

"But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Part of your striving for the kingdom, especially as a leader in the church, is to help others strive for the kingdom. Sadly, you will find resistance to this in the ministry. We live in a church culture where kingdom living isn't the exalted norm. We have watered down Christianity.

Jesus' call isn't as easy to follow as we hear it portrayed on television and at the end of many sermons.

Matthew 16:24-26

"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?'"

Jesus expects nothing less than self-sacrificing discipleship. Don't expect anything less than that from the people you minister to. View people through kingdom goggles and you will see them with all of their potential the way God sees them.

And don't lighten expectations for yourself and for others. Keep the expectation at complete self-sacrificing discipleship. Don't ever soften the demands of the kingdom down for those on the fringe. Expect complete discipleship for everyone. Anything less is a different gospel.

Watch out for the potholes.