I just wrote yesterday on Twitter that I’d be writing about a particular topic today as long as God didn’t have anything else in mind.
Well, God had something else in mind. My fault!
I’ve been thinking about the word hullabaloo. It is a tremendously great word to say aloud, and it means, simply, “a commotion.” A fuss. A big deal. And I’ve been thinking about the word hullabaloo because I’ve been thinking a lot about ministries lately, and how they all seem to get started these days with…well, a hullabaloo.
When my husband and I kicked off our college/career ministry at a previous church, we planned on starting the group simply by holding our first welcome meeting. And maybe having some chips and soda. That was it. That was our “kickoff.”
No no no, the church said. Do you have a name? And a logo? There’s a graphic designer who will work for free on your logo. You also should probably start thinking about some retreats, and brochures, and maybe an advisory committee…
That was the first time, and hardly the last time, that I became acquainted with the philosophy of “ministry as hullabaloo.” And I don’t want to disparage it, because the desire to create a commotion around a ministry, to “position” it properly, and to make sure it has lots of workers comes from a place of enthusiasm and hope. Churches with resources want to be able to use those resources for good, and I applaud them for it.
But it’s become a natural part of the process. So natural that when someone has an idea for an “armed forces” ministry, as someone in my church did, people donate masses of mini-flags and everyone starts putting together a list of local veterans who might be able to help. When someone talks about maybe going to visit the elderly who are in nursing homes, someone else says, why not decorate a bus for the journey and throw a bus-driving party?
The thing is, sometimes the hullabaloo can be both daunting and discouraging. Daunting because sometimes people just want to start a ministry without enduring launch events and committees and parties and brainstorming sessions. And discouraging because sometimes a ministry can feel unloved or like it’s not worth doing when a gang of people don’t immediately and enthusiastically jump on board.
But you only need one person to start a ministry. And no hullabaloo is necessary.
I feel really compelled to encourage people today that if there’s an idea you have for a ministry – if there is something that you’d love to do for God – you should do it. Now. Today. As much as you are able. You don’t need a launch event, or a gang of enthusiastic volunteers, or a brainstorming committee. You probably don’t even need the backing of a church.
And I know you’re just one person. Maybe you have a dream of starting a ministry that will provide companionship and joy to all the folks living in assisted living facilities in your area. And you’re sad because you’re just one person and you can’t go see everyone yourself. But you know what? You can see five people. You can see ten. Jesus can make a banquet out of a few loaves and fishes, so who knows what He has planned for you? And even if God doesn’t see fit to expand that ministry – isn’t it worth it anyway just to touch five people’s hearts?
Go do the thing you’ve been waiting on. If you want to bake cupcakes for your local police department, do it. If you want to pass out Subway sandwiches to the homeless in your area, do it. If you want to write a book, write it. Don’t wait. Don’t worry.
Ministry is not made by the commotion and launch parties attached to it. Nor is it legitimized by the amount of people who want to be involved. All that it requires is what you probably already have: a willing heart.