DETROIT, MI – I remember watching Godzilla movies on Saturday mornings. Yeah, I know. I’m a nerd. A giant, mutant dinosaur emerges from the depths of the earth to wreak havoc. Unbeknownst to everyone, Godzilla is actually on a mission to do good. Usually something like ridding the earth of impending doom from another large mutant like Mothra. But no one seems to care about the good he’s trying to accomplish, because of all the damage he’s causing during his plight.
Have you ever noticed, some brides act more like Godzilla than beautiful wives-to-be during their wedding season. However, instead of physical destruction, these “bridezillas” leave behind a path of relational destruction. Their tempers are short, frustrations high, and no one is competent in their eyes. Overly critical, they want everything done to perfection. And maybe the worst part all of these emotions are directed at the people closest to them. The people in their corner. While their mission of planning a day filled with beautiful vows, fun dancing and delicious food was accomplished, no one seems to care because of all the damage they caused.
Pastors and leaders have ministry seasons that seem a lot like wedding planning. Seasons that lead to milestone events. Maybe it’s the launch of a ministry, construction of a building, a large outreach or the opening Sunday of a church plant. During these times, leaders can appear a lot like bridezillas. The most thoughtful leaders can turn into monsters leading up to and during the event. Then when everything is over, the monster disappears and the person you once knew is back. I’m sure it’s happened to someone you know or even yourself some time in ministry. I know I’ve been a terror during certain ministry seasons in my past. I’ve had my share of hurting family, staff and volunteers in the name of the mission. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how to love those around me leading up to large events, mostly from the mistakes I’ve made along the way.
Here are some guidelines on how to love those around you leading up to a ministry milestone:
People are not pawns
People are not tools used to make the ministry succeed. People are the ministry. If I’m not honoring people, then I’m not honoring Jesus. That includes my staff, leaders and volunteers. I had to stop looking at people as pawns in my attempt to win the game of ministry. (Phil 2:3)
My family is not the cost of doing business
The ends do not justify the means. Our families are not supposed to be sacrificed on the altar of ministry. Jesus was enough sacrifice to cover our every need. Our families are our first ministry. They are to be stewarded, not discarded in the name of Jesus. I’ve found in ministry seasons leading to milestone events in my life, they were the first thing I sacrificed. Ministry milestones are good, but not if they come at the cost of our families. (1 Tim 3:4-5)
Love Jesus more than Jesus' work
I’ve found that the times I’ve spent the most as a ministry bridezilla, are the times I’ve spent the least with Jesus. Our amount of love and grace are directly associated with intimacy with Him. Don’t allow the amount of time spent planning and executing an event trump the time you spend with your Savior. Rest is not an option, it’s a necessity. So is resting in the Lord. Our worth is not found in the work of Jesus, but in the person of Jesus. (Matt 22:37)
It feels amazing to charge towards the vision God has placed on our hearts. Sometimes we may approach it like bridezilla but we don’t have to. There are always going to be seasons in ministry where we are working a little more, sleeping a little less and spinning a few more plates. But in our passion to do the work of God, let’s not forget to love the people of God. (1 Pet 4:8)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tito Diaz is the multiplication pastor for Mile City Church in Detroit. He serves as a NAMB Church Planting Catalyst.