by H.A. Moldez, National Director of A2/Philippines
“Your people will rebuild the ancient ruined and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairers of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets and Dwellings.”
— Isaiah 58:12
My ministry activities have been undermining my intimacy with God.
Leaders like me want to accomplish so many things for the kingdom of God. Unfortunately, we believe that seeking and showing personal strength is the key to soar and succeed in serving God. It has distracted us from full dependence on the Holy Spirit. Ministry has become a show of performance rather than soaking in prayer (cf. Zechariah 4:6; Mark 9:29).
Spiritual power comes from powerlessness. But our current ministry construct celebrates power, position, and prestige. This is pervasive in the contemporary church. I must admit that in some ways I have been trapped. I try to resist the worldly influences on doing ministry, yet I know how easily I can return to old ways.
The Blessing of the Pandemic
God has used the pandemic to dismantle the ministry construct under which I had been working. The pandemic forced me to embrace undoing ministry. I had no choice because pandemic rules and restrictions grounded me at home. Slowly, the restrictions created by the pandemic became God’s instrument to deconstruct my ministry practices and perspective.
Deconstruction made it clear that what I had prioritized and pursued in life and ministry needed radical review and revision. The time and space created by the pandemic provided needed time to lazily linger in Bible reading and reflection, writing, and prayer. I grappled with the truth that ministry is all about participation in the work of God, not performance in the ministry.
Those who emphasize that Jesus calls us to be faithful rather than successful and focus on a few to disciple to reach the many are lonely voices. It has become customary to measure ministry success by size and structure. Few leaders resonate with the kingdom paradigm to spread the gospel through small people, in a slow process, stealthily invading the world by radical, faithful and ordinary disciples of Jesus in all spheres of life (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Spiritual Reconstruction of Life and Ministry
God deconstructed my ministry so that He could do the necessary spiritual reconstruction needed to help me to focus on what really matters as defined by the values and vision of the kingdom of God. God let me see that many things I had considered as success were not really significant in the kingdom of God. In the eyes of God, small works of love in the obscurity of the ordinary are significant and rewarded (see Matthew 25:34-40).
The pandemic-created deconstruction and subsequent reconstruction of my ministry has been a painful blessing. Deconstruction punctured my pride and deflated my performance. It put me to shame before God. Deconstruction has been a painful process of dying to my false self so that God could reconstruct my life around my true self, being renewed in the image of Jesus Christ. It has helped me to focus on what really matters as I have been doing ministry in the hidden place of ordinary, grounded at home in our small community. I am finding joy in meeting “small” people, sharing God’s love with them, and guiding them to pursue God.
The Process Continues
To be honest, I am still struggling as God continues to deconstruct and reconstruct me according to His agenda. And as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic begin to ease, I am tempted to dive back into ministry gung-ho, discarding the reconstruction lessons God has taught me through the pandemic experience.
Am I ready for the radical reconstruction of God from the brokenness of deconstruction? Am I willing to let go of the unnecessary? Am I prepared to be sidelined to linger being with God and believe that others can do better without my presence? Am I prepared to be regarded as a fool by dismantling worldly wisdom to become truly wise (see vv.18-23)?
My prayer is for the Lord to continue giving me the wisdom first inspired by my pandemic-imposed grounding to discard ministry activities which in the eyes of God are just wood, hay or straw to be burned. Instead, may I truly do the gold-silver-costly stones work of God (1 Corinthians 3:12).
THINK to TAKE AWAY:
- Do you agree or disagree that pandemic has been a means of God’s deconstruction of life and ministry? Why or why not?
- Why is spiritual deconstruction necessary to a ministry of rebuilding the broken people emerging from pandemic?
- What will you let go of to let the Holy Spirit reconstruct your life and ministry?
National Director, A2/Philippines
- Image credits: cover photo by Jeff Johnston/Asian Access, inset photos by AJ Moldez.
- Other articles from Herman:
- Country Profile: Philippines
- Other articles about the Philippines