Ministry Lessons From a Desert Resort

It seemed as if the summer just started and as I write this article, we find ourselves a few days away from starting school again. Someone once said, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” I guess I must’ve had a very fun summer because it went by quick!

Desiring to be fully prepared for the school year, I decided a few weeks ago to take my family on one last mini-vacation. So after the Sunday morning service, we went home, changed, picked up our duffle bag and headed to Tucson!

I’ve always made fun of Tucson. Just the name itself provokes me to poke fun at it, Tu-sohn. It’s not Tuck-sun. Who named this place?

Anyhow, I preached for a good friend of mine, Pastor Joe Stoppelbein, during the evening service. Afterwards we shared a meal and good fellowship at Denny’s. Then it was off to the resort.

As we drove towards the resort we noticed ourselves going further and further away from the city. After many traveling the many twists and turns of Tucson’s roads, we finally made it to the resort. Out of nowhere (it seems) this massive property appears. Nestled against the saguaro-covered foothills of Tucson Mountain Park. I wasn’t laughing at Tucson anymore. We have arrived at perhaps one of the fanciest resorts I’ve ever stayed in.

The next few days were relaxing, refreshing, and revitalizing for us as a family. Many memories were created. But along with the good times came some valuable lessons that I will take with me into the ministry. Like Moses, in the middle of the desert, I learned some ministry lessons.

The Staff Remembered Our Names

It was kind of creepy at first but everywhere I went, “How’s your stay so far, Mr. Zarate?” “Has anyone showed you where everything is, Mr. Zarate?” Over and over again, when they saw me they mentioned my name.

The sweetest sound to most people’s ears are their names. It’s important that we in ministry know people’s names. It’s hard to minister to someone you don’t know. I’m sure the resort had a system. You can develop one, too!Think about it, doesn’t God know your name?

They Always Smiled and Asked If There’s Anything They Can Do

Imagine if everyone at your church smiled all the time and asked if there’s anything that needed to be done. We wouldn’t have to conduct Ministry Involvement Nights or have sign up sheets for the workday. No visitor will ever feel threatened when walking through our doors. Smile, my friend, Jesus loves you! And because He loves you, you can serve others with a smile. (Galatians 5:13)

They Wanted To Improve

As I walked around the resort, I always saw some seasoned worker training a new employee. Whether it was a landscaper or a bellhop or a concierge- there was always training going on. They also had “Tell Us How We’re Doing Cards” everywhere. The resort constantly desired the input of the consumer so that they can have a better experience on their property.

Imagine what would happen if we as a church sought to improve our ministries. Churches will die if we don’t train others to love the Lord and work for Him. It’s not easy and people can’t just figure it out on their own. Someone must teach them so they can teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)

They Had Water Everywhere

Don’t forget, we’re still in the middle of a desert! There was cold water in the lobby, by the pool areas, the patios – it was everywhere! As a church, isn’t that why we’re here? We need to take every opportunity to share, Jesus Christ, the Water of Life who can quench the everlasting thirst everyone feels.

I’m glad I took some time to rest with my family. There were many fun times to remember. But I’m even more thankful that God continued to teach me through my time of rest.


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