Ritchie Jordan is a deacon & life group leader at City Church, a preachers kid and former pastor here in Detroit. She has served in the ministry for over 30 years, has a servants heart, worked very hard in the ministry and loves the Lord. She is happily married to Russell Jordan. This post took courage to write and as her friend I want to thank her for the honesty and insights she shares here in this post. Words cannot express how much she has helped me and our ministry here in Detroit. May these words encourage you, strengthen you and help you in your ministry. I asked her to write a few thoughts down on what she has learned in ministry that would help me and others. The following is her response. Enjoy! -jon
There was a grip on my life like Paul in 1 Corinthians 9. I had to preach the gospel. Reading the word was like breathing. The more I read, the more he gave and made me to want more. I understood things with ease where if I tried on my own I would get very frustrated. I learned to allow God to have His way with me. When Christ enables me then I am strong.
Even when I find I am weak, when I cannot…God can and did.
Before God could use me, He had to bring me to a place where I had to completely rely on Him. I had no doubt it was Him working in my life. I was broken, of no use to anybody. Didn’t feel that I could do anything. I had to declutter my mind and my life by getting rid of things that kept me from focusing on God. I could never trust my common sense when the statements of Christ contradict it. This was a very hard lesson to learn when we are taught to rely on our common sense. For instance, when every thing in me tells me to go and do…Jesus tells me to sit and learn.
I never take anyone, especially myself to be good. Natural goodness always breaks, always disappoints because the heart is deceitful above all things who can know it. Never trust anything in yourself or anyone else that God has not placed there. The only way to know God’s will is to obey from the heart. Ask Him and wait for him to answer.
I have to allow Jesus Christ to manifest in my flesh, not just be an imitator of Him (Satan is an imitator). I had to always allow God to receive glory. It was and is God working in me, not me doing what I think God wants. But me knowing God’s word and being lead by the Holy Spirit to do God’s will. I had to Know who I was ministering to. God helped me to do that. Was I talking with New Christians or mature Christians? Did the body needed to know or be reminded of it’s position in Christ or do they need to know how to go and evangelize?
It was at these times that I gave away more than I received and I didn’t take the time I needed to refresh. I sacrificed family and personal enjoyment. Sometimes I got lied to, lied on and disrespected, tried to be tripped up and had my authority questioned, but I had to learn tolerance and be confident in my call, and above all else put God first.
I could not be quick to judge or criticize. Just because I haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it is’t real. I never denounce something on which I know nothing about nor do I proclaim things I know nothing about. I don’t try to preach something I heard because it sounds right or good if I don’t know it to be true. This helps me to never forget who I am. What I have been and and what I may become is by the grace of God.
I tried to be available and willing to do his will. Trying to interpret the word of God on my own would wear me out physically, but a concentrated strenuous mental effort that allowed the word to talk to me invigorated me. When I concentrated on what Gods’ word said and allowed the Holy Spirit to reveal what I needed to learn from the word and share with others always worked for me When I felt a block I would take a walk and talk with God. If this didn’t cure than there was something wrong with me. I needed to take ” stock of my spiritual life” find out if there was a break in my relationship with God. What have I done that was not pleasing to God?
Know the word. Read daily, focus and concentrate on what the Lord is teaching. For me and for others, allow His word to soak in. Meditate on spiritual as well as natural aspects of the Word. I had to learn to receive as well as give. You give and give when God sends someone to give to you, be gracious and receive. This is still really hard for me to do. Trust God. Have faith that God is real and not just Bible verses or a catch phrase. I have to trust him in every aspect of my life and ministry. I have to be willing to say I don’t know and then go find out. I could’t try to fake it till I make it. If I didn’t know or was not sure I had to look it up verify what God says about it. Where I found it in the word and what were the circumstances. Then be able to and go back to explain.
Serving. Respect the lead pastor. Respect the office of pastor God has called them to be there for that time. I was taught this. I was taught this, but didn’t learn this until I was disrespected and the office I held was disrespected.
“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” No leader can do it all by themselves. There is no success without sacrifice. I have heard it said, “every failure brings you one steps closer to success.” To get there we have to make sacrifices.
I had to be proactive, not reactive not every problem. I needed to go to the lead Pastor. When an assignment is given, learn to work through things to be a help and not an added burden to the Pastor. I read some good books to help me learn and in some cases, phrase thoughts and stimulate my thinking. Take some time out for myself to refresh to take stock and to listen to God. And when it was time for me to leave the ministry, I tried to walk away with integrity not tearing the body apart.
Hurt and wounded
Being wounded (not just me, but my family also). When my family saw the hurtful way I was treated and the lack of respect I was shown, it made my family to question God as they wanted to know why. They questioned their faith and even their salvation, we had to talk about people and how sometimes they forget who they are representing. The same body that you think loves you, can be the same body to tear you down. A simple disagreement on order of service or praise team vs devotion leaders can be reason for an up raising. The important thing I learned was not to be focused on the issue but to stay focused on God and the assignment He had give me.
Don’t get hung up on the applause. Just because people told me how I blessed them, or how good of a job I did I must always give God the glory for doing good. And when not so good, I would have to go back and find out why. My sensitivities are impertinent. Find a way to renew the Spirit daily.
Taking up my cross. I looked for justice, when I should’ve looked to Jesus. I tried to find refuge in people and other pastors when I should have been finding that secret place of the most high God. I gave way to self pity and discouragement when I should’ve praised God for allowing His strength in my weakness. I allowed circumstances to hinder my relationship with people rather than allow my light to continue to shine for Christ. I learned denying myself really means denying my right to myself not just to things. Having a outpouring of love for Jesus and winning souls for Him.
I have learned that fear freezes, pain numbs, but forgiveness frees. Be willing to allow people to be whoever they are and wherever they are. I had to remain teachable as there is always something I can lean. I had to know when I was in pain and know when I was afraid. Sometimes I was so numb I didn’t know how I felt. I had to be willing to forgive even when no one wanted to be forgiven even when they continued to be hurtful and hateful toward me.
I was called into ministry, but I believe that being voted into becoming a Pastor and allowing the people to dictate to me my ministry (even though it was only meant to be temporary) was not the place I was supposed to be. A temporary misstep has taken me 10 years to get over and I am still coming out of it.
I forgot to maintain my personal relationship with God no matter what. Never allow any man, woman or demon from hell to come between my soul and God. Embrace anyone or thing that leads you to know God better. I have known this truth but I have not always done this. Knowing and practicing what you know can be very different things. It is said, “you never know what you would do until you go thru something,” but with God your eyes and mind should always be on Him for direction and strength.