With Ministry Think “Smoker” not “Microwave”

Erik Raymond —  October 23, 2012

You act like you need to microwave everything.

It’s amazing how subtly our thinking can be shaped. It has been said that we live in a society with short patience and high demands. This combination creates an approach where we want what we want right away.

The above quote is an indication of this. It was made to me by a brother I have a great deal of respect for. And he was referencing my desire for a quick turn for implementation on everything, particularly ministry-related items. His point, which has made more of an impact over time than it had originally, was that we don’t have to be impatient and rush everything. There is time to think it through.

This is very tough for me. When I become convinced of a course of action I just want to go. And go quickly.


I have found that this microwave approach seeps into everything. This can be helpful when you need to make a decision and deploy some people for problem solving but it can be dangerous when thinking about the mission of the church.

Let’s take the core mission of a church. We are to make and train disciples (Matt. 28.19-21). By nature is this difficult work. While there is a recipe for this (Eph. 4.11-15) there are a lot of variables (2 Cor. 10.3-4). We cannot zap someone in the spiritual microwave and in 30 seconds have a mature Christian. There is a lot of sweaty human faithfulness and divine power that needs to be expended in the work of the church. This takes time.

Instead of thinking of Christian ministry like a microwave we should think like a smoker. We add the rubb, let the meat sit, put it in the smoker and trust the process. In ministry we should do the work and trust the process. It takes time, it is hard, and frankly, it is humbling–but this is the way God does it!

There is tremendous freedom in trusting the process.

First of all, you don’t have to reevaluate every 2 weeks to make sure you are up to date. If you are being faithful, you are up to date.

Second, you are freed up to pray. Nothing will drive you to pray like the feeling that you need God. It is his process. It is his design. It is his work that he calls you to.

Third, it makes it all taste better. You can microwave a plate of ribs (good luck with that), or you can smoke them. Let it go. Watch, wait, taste and enjoy. God is at work according to his means and for his glory.

Erik Raymond

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Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids while pastoring at Emmaus Bible Church. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/erikraymond

2 responses to With Ministry Think “Smoker” not “Microwave”

  1. Just want to say a big thanks for this! I’m two months into my first sole-pastorate and these last two weeks in particular I’ve been fairly rushed off my feet trying to sort things our immediately. In other ways I’ve been pushing forward visions, especially in my own mind. Need to relax a little I think!

    By the way, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now but never commented so do keep up the hard work!