Inspiration: God, Family, Josiah Oslund (Author of “A Worship Leader’s Handbook)
“How can I help the needs of the people if I neglect those I have been assigned to for a lifetime?” – Q. Armstrong
Birth of Inspiration:
On New Year’s Eve 2013, I downloaded a FREE book from iBooks, “A Worship Leader’s Handbook” by Josiah Oslund. In the chapter entitled Family Feud: Balance vs. Priority, Oslund’s first sentence states “Your primary ministry calling is your family”. That one statement caused me to feel conflicted. I can honestly say that for the past two years, I have been so consumed with my life and trying to play “Quaneshia – Fix My Own Life” and then the follow up “God – I Can’t Do It: Fix my Life” (taken from the title of American Reality TV Series, “Iyanla: Fix My Life”) that I spent less time being a support for my family. Yes, I was fully aware of all the things that my family was going through. For years my family (young and seasoned) had no reservation with venting to me about the issues that plagued them. I care, and I earnestly prayed for them and their deliverance. However, I felt that I did not have the energy to fully deal with my issues and theirs at the same time. In the voice of TV personality Maury Povich of the ever so popular syndicated American tabloid show “Maury” (known to reveal paternity test results to guests that are unaware of the other individual responsible for birthing the child(ren), “ Quaneshia, You are… . Self Absorbed, In Denial, Out of Order and Disobedient.” It was a harsh reality check moment, but true.
Every day, I’m praying that God will use me to bless others throughout the community and during church services as I help lead praise and worship on a weekly basis. Yet, I go home and utter a prayer for my family, but continue to ignore the appeal to minister to my own. My reaction is not stemmed from a lack of love or concern. In fact it’s the total opposite. I love and care so much that I can’t stand to see my loved ones in a crisis or in the midst of tumultuous situations. That alone leads me to not want to deal with it. Instead, I just want to utter the lines taken from Walt Disney’s 1937 film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. “Mirror Mirror on the Wall, You know my family’s needs, fix them all. Then after the “whoosh” sound, everything is back to normal, right? No. First, I have no belief in magic and such, but I do have a strong belief in the Power of the Holy Spirit. Second, life was not designed to be that easy for the believer nor the non-believer.
I was once reflecting on my life and asked, ‘out of all the people, what purpose did God have for orchestrating me to be a part of the family that I’m in. I had no say so in how I would be conceived or which blessed wound I would be delivered out of. It would take time for me to understand just how long, wide and deep a family tree can spread. The depth of the family causes me to be privy to a lot of issues that concerns love ones. Am I equipped to be a help to my family? Will dealing with the problems that I face everyday prepare me to be able to effectively minister to others? It was apparent (and others confirmed) that God wanted to use me in some capacity to help my love ones. But I have so many other tasks, responsibilities, and Kingdom assignments, not to mention my issues that I need to attend to. I’m only one person. Then, this question came to me, “How can I help the needs of the people if I neglect the needs of those who I have been assigned to for a lifetime?”
There is a reason that God designed relationships, which stems from a family unit. Adam and Eve became the first family unit on earth. After having birthed two sons, the family unit expanded and has been expanding every since. I’m now reminded of a biblical story involving relatives Abraham and Lot. Abraham (The Father of Faith) and his cousin Lot had an issue to deal with. Both of them along with their herdsmen were in this land not large enough to hold them, their families and possessions. This resulted in a quarrel between their herdsmen. Abraham did not have an interest in joining the “quarrel session” nor did he decide to leave the land without confronting the issue with Lot. After an effort to restore the relationship, Abraham suggested (I believe being guided by God) that they both separate and settle in a different area. It was after Abraham tended to the issue that God spoke to him about how he would become the “Father of Many Nations”. Just because a family has issues does not mean that the family has to be deemed dysfunctional. It’s dysfunctional when the roles within the family are not being carried out and no one is holding them accountable. Within our own unit, we have to fight to keep family together as the way it was so designed. And most times, it is someone WITHIN the unit that can plant a good seed that results in family restoration and healing.
So back to the inspiration for this blog, “Your primary ministry calling is your family”. In other words, we should minster to family before others. You may be saying, “minister?” I’m definitely not saying that each of us are called to stand in a pulpit and deliver a timely, heart provoking, spirit-led message to those who have an ear to hear. The term “minster” is not just a noun affirming a title given to certain figures, it is also a verb that all of us have the ability to do. Dictionary.com defines minster as (a) to give service, care or aid; attend, as to wants or necessities or (b) to contribute, as to comfort or happiness. God could be knocking on your heart to do more than just pray in your own prayer closet, but to reach out to the person as the listening ear, shoulder to catch the tears, mouthpiece that speaks life to the dead situation, vessel used to give as directed, organizer of a joint prayer session and/or whatever else He desires for you to do.
Still not sure if this subject matter even applies to you? Allow me ask a few questions to aid in more self reflection:
- Are you able to identify issues that plague your family, most times without them offering a confession?
- Does your heart become saddened or heavy, as if you are standing in proxy for them?
- Do you sometimes wish it was you instead of them?
- Do you have a desire to wave your magic wand and cause that issue to flee?
I’m sure that if you truly possess the love of God that He himself has shown to us, then you probably answered yes to at least two of the aforementioned questions. Here is the next question. Do you?
- Tell someone else in the family about the situation and never make an effort to approach the one in need?
- Just go into your “prayer closet”, get on the “threshing floor”, and intercede for them?
- Just ignore it in fear of their reaction or just a strong sense of frustration that will allow you to possibly approach them harshly?
If you are like me and have been guilty of answer C, let us apply the universal standardized test-taking strategy and eliminate that answer. We now know that we need to pray for holy boldness to enable us to say what we are lead to say and to do what we are lead to do. As for answers A and B, we can now seek God to guide us in taking our family ministry to the next level and to seek him in knowing how to proceed in the calling. It is often quoted that a family that prays together, stays together. A family that prays together and for each other with a sincere heart also allows the Holy Spirit to show them how be a blessing within a family unit.
Right now, you may be thinking of someone in particular. If God is leading you to call them, then do it. If he’s calling you to visit them just so they can know that they are not in the situation by themselves, then do it. If He’s calling you to pray with the person over the phone or in person, then do it! Remember, apart from God, we can do nothing. Continually ask God for guidance, wisdom and supernatural strength. It’s an honor to be chosen by God to do any work that He asks us to do. If He is prompting you to do it, then that means you have everything that you need in order to do it. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them – Matthew 18:20.
Inspire to Desire… . :
I want to Inspire you to Desire more direction from God as it relates to His people! The family ministry not only applies to an immediate family member (wife to husband, husband to wife, parent to child), but to the family as a whole (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc). Now, I have yet to begin sharing my life with my help meet (husband) and our four children :-), but I know that in this season God has placed me within a family unit that is able to minister, encourage and help one another. I encourage you and myself to make the greatest effort to put family ministry before other ministries. “If you are faithful with the ministry that God has given you in your family, you may be surprised by His faithfulness in all your secondary ministry endeavors”. Excerpt From: OSLUND, JOSIAH. “A Worship Leader’s Handbook.” Go forth and be blessed!