I love being a child of God. I love being active in ministry. And I love that I’m blessed with a family that has always prioritized the house of God. Whether you’re a leader or a layperson, whether you’ve been faithful to an independent Baptist church since you were 7 or started active ministry at 70, rejoice. You belong to the unique crowd of motivated “ministry brats” that keep our buildings maintained and our cars, vans, and buses rolling.
In case you missed the first Ministry Brat list, it’s over here. Meanwhile, here are 27 more clues you might be a ministry brat. Welcome to the club.
- You have separate Bibles for specific purposes, and it confuses you when you have to use your church Bible for your devotions (and vice versa).
- You compulsively put hymnals in the rack before you leave a pew.
- Ladies – you own a pair of drop-waisted, box-pleated culottes, probably made from a 20-year-old Christian Womanhood pattern.
- You’re a master at Minute to Win It and have created your own versions.
- You’re unfazed by the creative phonetics of “Nebuchadnezzar”, “Eutychus”, and even “Job”, but it surprises you to hear how “Kanye” or “Macklemore” are pronounced out loud.
- Single ladies – You were ecstatic when Kate Middleton’s royal wedding put sleeves back into mainstream bridal fashion.
- The radio presets in your car are news, classical, static, static, and static.
- You don’t have parties, you have fellowships.
- You miraculously go home from these fellowships with more food than you actually brought.
- Men – not only can you tie a necktie in under 15 seconds, you can do it backwards on a squirmy six-year-old.
- You’ve been disappointed to learn that all the best modest clothing ideas on Instagram are from Apostolics…
- …and all the snazziest Sunday school resources on Pinterest are from the Mormons.
- You know what a six-inch-rule is.
- You’ve used your vacation days and spring breaks to go to a conference.
- You’ve heard the same evangelist preach the same message in three separate meetings (and still managed to get something new out of it).
- Your favorite comic books growing up were Chick tracts.
- You can manage a sound booth better than the $2000 crew your coworker hired for her wedding.
- You get stumped when a questionnaire asks you to select “Catholic or Protestant?” because you’re not, in fact, either.
- You or someone you know has actually swallowed a live goldfish.
- You’ve made a grocery list on the back of an offering envelope. Unfortunately you did this before putting it in the collection plate.
- You know an awful lot of seafaring metaphors for living as far inland as you do.
- You’ve had to explain to a kid why mints are OK in church but Cheetos are not.
- You’ve had to explain to a kid that you’re allowed to mark in your Bible but not in your hymnal.
- You’re capable of standing upright on a moving bus.
- You’ve tried itemizing a “time tithe” of 16.8 hours a week spent for the Lord, only to realize you overestimated the length of a church service. (Or is that just me? Anyone?)
- You’d have to hunt for the Cable button on your TV remote, but you can find the Mute button blindfolded with gloves on.
- You’ve already wondered if the 39 & 27 items in these lists are a subtle reference to the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. (You’d be correct.)
Most of us get a chuckle out of putting a name to our Baptist idiosyncrasies, but for some it’s difficult to comprehend where all these “rules” fit into 21st century life. In fact, I can’t even tell you how many of my old friends have ditched this “lifestyle” because it was just that – a list of arbitrary customs that didn’t seem to have any real depth.
Can we just take a minute to reevaluate ourselves, and why we do what we do? Why is it so important to mute the commercials with rock music? Why do Bible colleges still push a six-inch rule for dating couples? Why do I still wear outdated culottes and denim skirts even for physically demanding activities? The reason we get apathetic about old-fashioned standards, the reason millennials insist the rules are “1960s hangups” and “not really in the Bible”, the reason we feel almost guilty for going out of our way to enforce an old conviction, is that we simply don’t want to remember why we had it in the first place.
My convictions, my idiosyncrasies, and my old-fashioned “traditions” are not about me walking in lock-step with the “old fundamentalists”; they’re an outward expression of my inward level of surrender to Him. If He requires holiness, I will err on the side of “too” uptight, even if it means looking dorky to the world. Even the rules that aren’t spelled out in Scripture are based on precepts; they’re usually just guardrails set so far from actual sin, that if I break the rule in a moment of weakness, I have not destroyed my testimony or fallen into sin.
So until the next post, here’s a new challenge: Make a list of your “ministry brat” habits and standards that you don’t really remember why you do. And figure out why you do them, the commands or principles behind them, from the Word of God. Very rarely will you ever find you need to relax an “old-fashioned” conviction; instead what you’ll find is that you’ve scooted your tolerance threshold closer to sin than God is pleased with. If you need help, go to your pastor, his wife, or another godly counselor who hasn’t relaxed those standards.
Until next time, let’s stand fast together and just rejoice in the amazing gift of living in the service of the King.
Want more? 39 Ways You Know You’re a Ministry Brat