Our Role in Ministry

As we mature in our faith, we naturally want to become more involved in the activities of our parish and community, but it leads to a new problem: understanding our role in ministry.

If a new opportunity for volunteering fits within our skill set, and we enjoy the work we do, we are likely to find other ways of getting involved; however, if the opportunity does not go very well, we may be turned off from volunteering completely.

How does this happen?  How do we get pulled into volunteering opportunities that we don’t enjoy?

Sometimes, we volunteer ourselves.  We are overly eager to get involved, and we take the first opportunity that comes along.  We do not take the time to discern if it is a good fit.

Other times, we may feel obligated to help out.  Saying “no” can be difficult.  Someone may approach us with a need, and we feel that turning them down would somehow make us less of a Christian.

But for many, they do not understand their role in ministry.  They were never taught that God has a mission for each of us – a unique mission that only we can fulfill.  We follow the path of others instead of charting a course for ourselves.

Ministry reminds me of the children’s game with different-shaped blocks and different-shaped holes.  We can try to fit the square block in the round hole, but we are wasting our time.  Sometimes, we may squeeze the triangle through the square, but it is still not a good fit.  In ministry, we need to find the round peg for the round hole.

Entire books have been written on finding our place in ministry and discerning our spiritual gifts, but for most of us, it is pretty simple: find ways to volunteer using your natural skills and favorite activities.

For instance, I enjoy writing, so I dedicate many hours each week to helping the Church share the Gospel on the Internet.  At the same time, I hate yard work, and I am allergic to virtually everything that’s green and grows out of the ground, so helping with the parish grounds team is not a good fit.

There have been times that I have volunteered in ways that I do not enjoy, and eventually, I lose interest and rarely work as hard.  Meanwhile, when I find something that I am passionate about, I put every ounce of my energy into that effort.

Of course, there are times that we will have to help in ways we do not enjoy.  Times like these are simply our little crosses to bear; nonetheless, times like these should be the exception, not the rule.

If you make the best cupcakes, then help with the parish bake sale.  If your front lawn looks like a finely-groomed baseball field, help take care of the parish grounds.  If you are a teacher by day, help train catechists on good teaching methods at night.  Whoever you are, and whatever your skills may be, there is a unique opportunity waiting just for you.

Together, if we learn to more effectively use our talents and skills for the Church in ways that we enjoy, we can do a better job of sharing the Gospel with the world.  We simply need to find where our piece fits into the Church’s larger puzzle.

When we follow our joys and talents to find our role in ministry, we will enjoy the work we do and be much better at it.  We will want to work harder, and we will be more effective in our efforts.  In that way, we are giving our very best to God.  Does He deserve any less?

Copyright © 2013, Chad R. Torgerson

Chad R. Torgerson

Chad R. Torgerson

Chad R. Torgerson works as an IT Analyst for a Catholic publishing group. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and sharing his faith on his website, Waking Up Catholic, a guide to the Catholic RCIA process. and is also the Co-Founder of Assisi Media, a new Catholic publishing company focused on using new media to reach everyday Catholics. His new book, Waking Up Catholic, is available in eBook and paperback formats.

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