From time to time, I get asked to guest speak. When I just started in ministry, I accepted almost every invitation because I assumed that every chance to speak God’s word was a privilege. And I still believe that. But recently I began to turn down most of the invitations. It is not because I no longer think of them as significant. There are primarily three reasons.
First reason is I don’t consider myself a great speaker. I continually work on my communication skill, but I often feel the limitation as a non-native speaker. I firmly believe that God will give me the right message for my congregation every week, but I’m not always sure whether I am the best person communicating it to other churches.
Second reason is that I want to stay focused on my church ministry. Some people think pastors who do house church ministry have less work to do compared to regular churches since shepherds take care of most of pastoral ministry and visitation. But it is not true. We might do less of those, but we spend more time on prayer, teaching & preaching and providing leadership, which is our primary responsibility that takes a lot of time to do well. I want to stay faithful to this task above all else, building up the church God has entrusted to me to lead and shepherd.
Third reason is that I doubt whether my message would actually help churches that don’t do house church ministry. I used to accept an invitation from those churches, but I often found myself challenging people to do something that they didn’t have the practice field to apply. (for us it is house church) I felt like telling people to exercise when they have no exercise equipment and place to do it. It only brings unnecessary guilt.
But there are times that I do accept the invitation. It is when I get invited by churches that do house church ministry. The main reason is that I love the opportunity to share God’s message to non-Christians and in churches that do house church ministry, there are often non-Christians present. Though challenging, I cherish and enjoy doing it. When they say my message helped them, I become exhilarated.
I also feel indebted to house church ministry. The reason why I enjoy ministry now is because of all the resources I received freely through other churches that do house church ministry who have paved the way before us. It doesn’t mean that I accept every invitation from them. But if I discern that I have something to help the church, I try my best to accept the invitation and be a blessing.