It's All About Me!
Written by Donna on 25 May 2013.

Ever so often, I am reminded that ministry encompasses correction as well as encouragement. This year, Altared Lives Ministries, Inc. celebrates its 10th year of incorporation as a non-profit faith-based organization. That’s exciting! But after 10 years (and more time in ministry, in general), I still discover that babes in Christ are being born everyday and they need to learn God’s purposes for their lives.

Some are more interested in ministry than in maturity. And all of us were like that at some point in our early Christian life. We faced pressure to get busy, to do something, to show that we loved the Lord. To show that we were on fire for the Kingdom, we felt pressure to get involved in ministry of some kind.

But many times, that activity and “busy-ness” was simply a façade for our own personal ambitions. And the same holds true for believers today. Before Christ, some lived a life of hustling. Some came from a life of secular emceeing. Some were DJs spinning secular music. And when the babes come into the Kingdom, they seek to do the same things in basically the same ways as before – just switching out ungodly things for Scriptural and Biblical truths. But the bold, disrespectful, hard attitude is never attenuated or replaced by God’s personality and Godly manners.

Years ago, pastors used to be able to teach such babes, encouraging them to lay down their agendas for God’s agenda. Years ago, pastors used to be able to encourage such babes to provide service to someone else’s vision first, before seeking to fulfill the individual’s vision. Years ago, pastors used to be able to mentor young Christians in their roles in ministry. But that was years ago.

Now, I don’t think many pastors know what their lambs are doing. Ministries are machines that rage out of control with everyone trying to fulfill their own dreams. And no one is mentoring the lambs as to how to be faithful in a few things before God considers them worthy of being given many things.

With Altared Lives Radio, I am reminded ever so often that babes out there are interested in using ALR as a springboard for their ministries. Rarely – VERY rarely – do I receive communications from people seeking to assist with the ministry. Very rarely do people seeking to benefit from the ministry return some kind of benefit to the ministry. Very rarely do those who admire the ministry contribute to the ministry in any way. And if the ministry doesn’t respond to their attempts to be heard, then they get impatient or rude. They catch an attitude, and express their own sense of correction. That’s when my own pastoral anointing kicks in, and I offer correction in contrast to the usual encouragement I like to flow in.

No pun intended, but I realize I’m beginning to sound like a broken record on this. And I guess I always will, because babes are born into the Kingdom all the time. That’s what we want! We want conversions! We want newborns in the Kingdom!

But God wants disciples! God wants Christians who mature to become concerned about His vision for all of His children. He wants Christians who display the fruit of the Spirit. He wants disciples who can be a blessing to others rather than taking advantage of others to fulfill their own lusts and desires. This is truly the heart of the Lord, and of those who stand in place of ministry to others. And this takes growth to become that kind of Christian. This takes maturity. This takes time. This takes correction. This takes being patient, loving, and considerate of others.

This is not a natural way of life. It’s not something that naturally happens just because a person is a believer. Someone has to administer the correction. And someone has to humble down and accept the correction.

Heeding correction takes self-denial as opposed to self-preservation instincts. Such growth takes humility as opposed to pride and arrogance. It takes compassion as opposed to ambition.

One has to listen as opposed to seeking to be heard. As it concerns Altared Lives Radio, truly, my question has always been, “Out of those seeking to be heard, how many listen to the station to hear the ministries of others?” Or do they search for outlets of their own music, and when they find ALR, they immediately seek to get airplay and rarely if ever launch the station to listen to others. Or do they listen a short while and say, “My music is better than that! I deserve airplay for the awesome ministry God has given me!” And they shoot off an email or send mp3s in an email to ALR, although for a decade the ministry has publicly asked for mp3s not to be sent to any of our email addresses.

Since servers today are much more robust than during ALR’s early days online (and given what the ministry could afford in the early days), the “no mp3s in email” policy is close to being abandoned. However, it is primarily used now to see how diligent and considerate people are in seeking to get their ministry heard. Can they follow directions? Do they even look for directions to follow? What does that say about them and their general attitudes? Then they expect God to bless their ministry?

But I have not been surprised that things haven’t changed much in the couple of decades of ministry. Many of Gospel hip hop’s aspiring emcees, producers, and record labels still want to be heard, but are not willing to listen. They’re not willing to contribute in any way to those from whom they expect favor – not even in praying for or encouraging the ministry. But they are more than ready to criticize or discredit the ministry if they are not catered to in some fashion. Because they are thinking, feeling and saying, “It’s all about me!”

Father, help us all.