By Jerjuanna Cecille
Ministry and Black Women:
Growing up watching a pastor try to balance life was interesting. Watching him choose his calling over his passion. Seeing him be devoted to being all things to all people: a husband, a father of 3 teenagers (I was a late add on), a brother, a friend, an uncle, a pastor, and a man. Noticing how he intentionally loved people in ways, that were different. He laughed with people, cried with people, grieved with them, prayed with, for, and over them. All while communing with God to be guided with the words of truth for the flock that he had been charged to shepherd. Seeing the anguish on his face and break in his heart when a body died, and a soul was lost. Hearing the very souls that he kneeled and prayed to the Lord for bash him and he still love them. In having a conversation with this very pastor about how he knew the Lord was “calling” him to ministry full time. He explained that it was a burden on his heart and soul. No matter how far he tried to run from it, it got heavier and heavier. Once he surrendered to the “calling” the burden did not go away, it just became bearable.
The picture and understanding of ministry I had seen was one to praise God for but one to be hesitant to walk into.
There has been a misprint! The image has been mispainted! For some reason the occupational job, role, calling of ministry has become lavish and luxurious. Many have grabbed this title, this crown of preaching, teaching, proclaiming, and shepherding the hearts and souls of the children of God and they haven’t truly understood or really looked at the crown they are placing on their heads! Working in ministry is not easy for anyone. To be a sinful broken person shepherding sinful broken people you have to 1.) be called by God and 2.) you have to understand what it is that you are being called to do. You cannot just wake up one morning and say, I am going to do ministry full time, because if you are working from your own plan, strength and will, ministry will break you physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
In ministry you are not just being attacked by the devil and the world but the very ones that you serve. Those who want grace, love, and commitment but do not give it in return. Here on earth the crowns of ministry whether it be pastoral, women’s, worship, young adults, youth, does not come with rubies and diamonds. These crowns have thorns in them yet, it is a sweet invitation to suffer with Christ for the glory of Christ in understanding the weight and consequence of this crown.
This series “Heavy is the Head that wears the Crown” will explore the depths of ministry. What being called to ministry really means, the weight of that calling, the cost of that calling. We will get to enter the lives of women of color who have responded to the call of ministry full time, seeing the challenges that they face day after day.