September 2019


Some time ago, I read an article entitled, Professionals Built the Titanic; Amateurs Built the Ark. It was written by Jeremy Bassett, who, at the time, was one of the ministers on the staff of the United Methodist Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City. Today, Jeremy is the Senior Pastor at Wesley UMC in Oklahoma City and the director of the VIM program for our Oklahoma Conference.
In this article, Jeremy was trying to make the point that ministry in the local church is done
best when lay people are primarily leading and doing it. The article went on to say that in the understanding of our world, an “amateur” has come to mean “second rate”, as in the person having
inferior ability. But the true meaning of the word amateur is actually doing something solely, “for
the love of it.” At one time in our world, amateurs participated in sports because they were passionately committed to that sport despite the absence of a monetary reward.
The article then talked about how players of professional sports today seem to lack passion
because of playing for enormous contracts. But then it came back to the church, relating how
clergy and other ministers are considered the “skillful” ones when it comes to ministry and that
lay persons are just considered mere “amateurs”, in the lesser sense of the word. Jeremy’s conclusion was that while clergy have many skills and can teach the laity to do ministry, enhanced
skill alone will not produce better leaders among God’s people.
Jeremy says, “Rank amateurs started the church simply because of their love for Christ. All
throughout history, those who have loved deeply have had the greatest impact, even if their leadership skills have been somewhat lacking.”
As I think about what it means to have a passion for serving Christ, what it comes down to
is: to be committed to something that serves others in the name of Jesus. But more than that, it
means that when we offer our time and energy, we can develop a “passion” for doing ministry.
The questions are: Can we hang in there when it gets tough or challenging? And are we willing to
see it all the way through?
That’s how people develop passions for things: Teaching, cooking, leading, serving, studying, worshipping…and so much more. It begins when we say, “Here I am Lord. Send me!” And
it is fueled by our undying love for Jesus Christ!
In Christ’s footsteps we walk,
Pastor Roger