“Much of our ministry is pervaded with judgments. Often quite unconsciously we classify our people as very good, good, neutral, bad, and very bad. These judgments influence deeply the thoughts, words, and actions of our ministry. Before we know it, we fall into the trap of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Those whom we consider lazy, indifferent, hostile, or obnoxious we treat as such, forcing them in this way to live up to our own views. And so, much of our ministry is limited by the snares of our own judgments. These self created limits prevent us from being available to people and shrivel up our compassion.”
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart
I might be reaching here but I’m going to offer up this thought anyway. The body is the church. Your heart and soul are the minister. Our thoughts and words are our “flock” in a sense. If we are to act as minister over our own flock and change and grow spiritually, we must tend to our flock. This means taking an honest look at the judgments we make and changing the thoughts and words that do not serve love and compassion. Prayer is how we communicate this change to God.
To me, this personal ministry is the way of the heart.