A few weeks ago I was having a discussion with a co-worker of mine. She has recently re-located back to the Louisville area from Dayton and has found a church home close by her new house. Although she loves her church, she was challenged by finding a place to "plug in and serve." When she used that statement, she said, "If that makes sense." I told her to another church person it does, but to someone not involved in church, it just sounds like we're crock pots....
....after pondering on that, I began to compare the aspects of "plugging in and serving" at your local church to a crock pot. If there were a Christian Webster's dictionary, it would define "plug in and serve" as "finding your place in the local church to do ministry." And, there are similarities to ministry when you compare it to the plug in and serve crock pot.
First. all ingredients for one meal go into one pot. I love a good roast with carrots and potatoes in the crock pot. And, each ingredient plays their role in providing a wholesome yummy meal. Just like in ministry, we all work together as different ingredients in service to fulfill the work of the church.
Second, if an ingredient is missing, it is very evident. Another favorite thing I like to make in the crock pot is soup. Let's say you make a pot of potatoe soup, but eliminate the potatoes. You really only have a creamy vegetable broth. Not very hearty. In a local church, everyone is gifted specifically, and not all the same. If one person doesn't do the things they've been gifted to do, our sevice comes up lacking....much like the watery mess of broth without the potatoes.
And, last, the other name for a crock pot is a slow cooker....because it cooks slow. Brilliant naming convention. If I put in the ingredients for a great dinner at 10am and want to eat at noon, my dinner will be pretty nasty. It takes a good 6-8 hours for the slow cooking process to seep through every part of every morsel of food in that pot. When the final product is served, the juicy, tender dish is so succulent and appetizing that it was surely worth the wait. Sometimes in ministry, I have a microwave mentality. I figure that the first time I reach out to someone, they'll respond with open arms and completely change their life. But, that's usually not the case. It takes time. God's Time. Not mine. And, like the crock pot, when we let things develop in His Time, the results are a whole lot more appealing.
Slow and steady wins the race. And when God is doing the cooking, what a glorious feast it is.