Friday, September 15, 2006

The Meaning of Ministry

I used to think that “ministers” where those solemn men (and women) who stood behind the pulpit and preached on Sunday mornings. They were a very special breed – to be respected, revered, and maybe even awed a little. They were the ones who had ministries. It wasn’t until much much later in life that I began to understand that the word “ministry” refers to an act or instance of ministering, or “service”. In other words, it’s something that each of us can do, if only we’re willing to open our eyes and our hearts enough to see where there’s a need, and then to make a commitment to helping in any way we can.

Each of us has been given a unique set of gifts and experiences. Sometimes our ministry is readily apparent to us, whether we chose to act on that knowledge or not. Other times, it requires a little thought and a lot of prayer to determine how we can help.

I believe that there is no such thing as a small or insignificant ministry. Certainly there are huge ones, like Joyce Meyer and Paula White, but those are only examples of the countless ways that ordinary people are performing extraordinary acts of service every day.

I’ve recently learned of a wonderful example of how one kind and generous woman is making a big difference in the lives of others. Beth lives in Asheville, NC. In 2004, she spent 11 stressful days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of her local hospital, praying for her infant son who was being cared for there. Last spring, God placed it on Beth’s heart to knit and after teaching herself how, she’s now knitting up a storm and doing something remarkable with her newfound talent.

Last December, Beth taught her first knitting class – in the NICU where her son spent his first days. Unlike the “traditional” nursery knitting, God told Beth to do something different. Rather than knitting FOR the moms who are sitting in the same place she sat for what must have seemed like eternity just a few years ago, Beth now knits WITH them. As Beth explained to me, “the NICU is a quiet but tense place, which provides the perfect opportunity for Satan to fill these mom’s heads with doubts, fears and false guilt.” By teaching them to knit, Beth’s prayer is that they will be occupied so that they won’t have time to listen to him.

Right now, Beth is a one-woman show. She provides the needles, yarn, printed instructions and patterns, all out of her own pocket. She prints the invitations and personally hangs them on all 50 beds in the NICU. She is the only teacher. She needs our help. Beth is in need of #8 knitting needles, worsted weight yarn (acrylic only as per the hospital’s request – very sensitive babies!) and financial donations to help defray her costs.

God has also placed it on my heart to ask if there are others who might be interested in starting a similar ministry in the NICU of your local hospital. What Beth is doing is wonderful, and it’s something that’s needed in hospitals across the country. Imagine the impact on these mothers, their precious babies, the overworked hospital staff...

For more information, or to make a donation, please contact Beth directly:

Beth Ingersoll
20 Timber Nook
Candler NC 28715

1 comment:

Mary said...

When I lived in Hawaii, my church bulletin had printed on the bottom each week: "Pastor: John Doe; Ministers: the congregation of Kona United Methodist Church". I liked that philosophy. What a great life-long skill those NICU moms are learning!