Hey Vince and Jo. I am so thankful to you and the work that you continually do with RZIM and for your podcast (Ask Away); it is a blessing listen to as I go to work. I had a different question, but I don’t know how to best phrase it … so I am going with a different one: What is your biggest hurdle/challenge in ministry?
Thanks for your care in asking that question.
It changes from season to season, but here are two challenges that I would highlight:
Vince and I are on a steep learning curve of discovering what it looks like to serve in roles that have a heavy itinerant component while also being present and loving parents! Now that we have an 8 month old, we’re having to learn a new normal. We knew it could be challenging logistically, but what has surprised me is how emotionally hard I find it to spend time away from Raphael to serve in ministry. It certainly makes our time with him all the sweeter, but I am definitely feeling the cost of ministry in a new way.
For me personally, I also struggle with some of the ‘celebrity-ism’ that comes with being a Christian in ministry, particularly in the US where this seems to be a more prevalent part of Christian culture. Thankfully, it’s not too bad simply because I am not all that well known (for which I am grateful!), but even just getting up on a stage to speak or answer questions can create a strange dynamic afterwards in which people treat you differently, or with a greater reverence, or with the expectation that you must know EVERYTHING (trust me, nothing could be further from the truth!). I think there is something very worrisome and dangerous about putting other people up on pedestals. I absolutely love serving in this ministry, and there is nothing more incredible than seeing God at work in the lives of the people that we engage with. I just occasionally wish that I could speak up on stage wearing a paper bag, so that nobody could know who I was! I realize that is a delusional hope, and perhaps wrongheaded. As Ravi might put it, the messenger is the message, or at the very least, they play a crucial role in delivering it. In 2 Corinthians 3:2, Paul calls Christians “letters” from Christ, that people might look at the way we live and see something of the beauty of Jesus in us. I am glad to play that role. I just want to make sure that at the end of the day, people don’t come away being impressed by Jo Vitale without having thought much on Jesus Christ. I long for it to be the case that if anybody is remembered, it is Christ, not me. If you have the chance to pray for us, that would be my prayer request: that we might decrease that He might increase.
Thanks so much,