Role Identity

newsiteYesterday I happen to be at a meeting at the church so I was able to make it to Power Lunch for a change. Since my pastoral leadership is pursuing another degree that means the whole congregation is in school with him because he preaches what he learns. One of the things he talked about was role identity and the consequences of confusing what you do with who you really are. It got me to thinking about how over the last five years, God has stripped me of every title that sounds good or impressive and replaced them with actual meaningful work- sans title. Five years ago I was Minister to Women after having served as Minister to Youth. It sounded good and people were usually impressed when they heard it. The truth is that I felt the work was empty because I didn't have any real authority to make programmatic decisions or launch initiatives that I felt would build up those I was serving. Around that time I also carried the title of adjunct professor which was something academics appreciated and all others were fascinated by because of my age. In reality while I appreciate the doors that those teaching opportunities opened for me, the only thing I loved about it was presenting and the ministry in it. I hated grading papers, haggling with students over grades, and begging young people who should be better to do better. I think I did cartwheels when I made the decision not to teach adjunct anymore. These days my ministerial titles have been replaced by meaningful work I hope will impact the congregation that I am serving in a significant way. I am excited about the work that has been assigned to my hands and I can easily get lost in it if I am not careful. I couldn't say that before. In the past I'd wondered where my work was and when it was planning to show up. As far as teaching, I still have a teaching ministry but one that doesn't include plowing through thirty ten-page papers that students threw together at the last minute. Now I get to teach the Word to people who want to apply it to their lives. I get to teach seasoned saints how to mentor and disciple new believers. And I also get to minister to people one-on-one and allow God to use me in ways I couldn't imagine five years ago. It's funny because right now where I serve I have no title. Yet I wouldn't trade the work for all the titles in the world because at least I know the work is real.