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What do you do?

Josh Medlock, Director of Student Ministries

ne of the top three questions I get all the time is this: 

“What do you do?” 

This question often comes up when discussing my employment and where I work. 

I used to tell people, “I work for the church.” That was it. 

I said this because, when you tell people, “I am the Director of Student Ministries at First United Methodist Church Garland,” their response is usually something like, “Oh, so you are a pastor?” 

Then I have to explain that I am not a pastor, since I am not ordained. 

Which often leads to a discussion about the difference between a pastor and a minister and why that matters. 

Much easier to say, “I work for the church.” 

Truth is, if you are reading this, you probably also work for the church.

When we join the church, we take vows that state we will support our church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. 

But I am not sure I like the phrase “working for the church.”

When I think about the way that sounds, to me, it sounds like I am working for a place.

I guess it might be better to say, “working in the church?” 

But then what does that mean? Still sounds like I am working for someone or for an entity. 

I don’t work for either. I work for God. It really is that simple.

I do not work at First United Methodist Garland because of the entity, its people, or how much I get paid. 

I work here because I work for God. I feel called to ministry in a way that allows me to serve and utilize my gifts. 

In the last year and half, I haven’t been happy about needing to use ALL of my gifts. 

I didn’t realize when I left maintenance to work in ministry that I would be working maintenance as part of the ministry.

That is a real wordy way of saying I didn’t leave maintenance to go work maintenance. Yet here I am. 

Was I bitter? Yep. Was I frustrated? You bet. 

But I realize that this is all part of the ministry I am called to do.

I vowed to serve with my gifts. That means all the gifts I possess that God can use.

I don’t get to pick and choose. Lord knows I have tried. Let me assure you, that typically does not work out well in the end. 

So why am I telling you this? And what is the point? 

We all are called to serve God with our gifts. What is your gift?

Can you sing? There is a robe and folder with your name on it waiting for you.

Are you artistic? We have plenty of ideas for newsletters, posters and media that could use a professional touch. 

Do you like to get your hands dirty?

Come help me in the elevator pit one day cleaning out debris and oil. 

Push a broom, vacuum a room or two. Work in the flower beds. Clean a few glass doors or windows. 

Maybe physical isn’t your thing. But everyone can serve God.

Your gift may be the gift of prayer.

Your gift may be, well, gifts. Perhaps you have been blessed and are in the position to bless others financially. 

We are called to serve. We vow to serve. We are built to serve. 

I need to get over myself sometimes and realize that, even though I may not like it, I am good at fixing stuff.

And if that is where God needs me, then I should probably listen and get to work.

It is all part of the ministry. 

I hope and pray that all of you continue to find ways to be part of the ministry. 

Sometimes you need to go around

Josh Medlock, Director of Student Ministries

You find yourself standing in front of the tallest wall you have ever seen.

You were told by everyone around you that you needed to scale this wall and perch yourself on top of the highest point so that you can see what is on the other side.

The wall has some places here and there that you could possibly fit your hands and feet into.

There also seem to be some large cracks that look like you could really get a great hold on to pull yourself up.

You take a deep breath and start to climb.

Quickly, your body reminds you that you aren’t as young as you used to be, or that you are not in the shape you thought you were.

Probably should’ve used that gym membership you’ve been paying for but never actually use.

You climb back down.

Each time you try to climb, every place you put your hands and feet, it all seems to be too much.

Each time you tire quickly and must come back down.

You almost slip and fall so many times you’ve lost count.

Struggle as you might you just can’t seem to get there.

You begin to wonder and dream about the sights on the other side of the wall.

What will the world look like?

How much beauty are you missing because you can’t see what is there?

Is there a large lake or perhaps a beautiful frozen glacier that seems frozen in time?

You try again. No luck.

You are drenched in sweat and your muscles ache.

Your body is yelling at you to stop and rest.

But everyone told you that you HAD to get to the top, that what lies beyond the wall is something that MUST be seen.

How long would you try to climb?

How long would you push yourself past the point of exhaustion?

Wait! Did you bother to look to either side?

The wall doesn’t go on forever. If you walk a ways you can simply go around.

So you walk.

The walk seems to take forever but eventually you can see the end of the wall.

Your pace quickens.

Even though your lungs start to burn from the effort and your already shaky legs are about to give out, you find yourself inspired and full of hope because there it is!

The end of the wall.

You slowly and cautiously creep around the corner to view what is beyond the wall.

I find that there are many times I feel as though I am climbing that wall.

What I have to remind myself is that there are other ways of getting where I need to go.

The walk that I am on is not one that I journey alone.

I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who mentor me, guide me, and encourage me.

But most importantly, I walk with Jesus. I never walk alone.

The walk may be longer than expected and it might seem like it will never end.

But it will, eventually.

We don’t always need to climb the wall. Sometimes we just need to walk around it.

My prayer for you today is that you won’t walk alone.

That you will look to either side of you and recognize the cloud of witnesses that walk with you.

If you don’t see them, don’t look up at the wall.

Instead, look deep inside and know that you don’t ever walk alone.

Blessings.