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Entries in Melissa Mashburn (9)


Keeping First Things First in Ministry

Melissa Mashburn’s effectiveness in ministry is founded in the words “keep it real.” In this Ministry UPGRADE, she reminds us to consider our focus and priorities.

“Ministry can become all consuming, but it’s important to remember to keep first things first and that’s making your own family a priority,” Melissa says. “Every day you are given a gift—your family. Yes, you have a call to do more, serve more and love the people in your community more, but ultimately, your family is your first ministry.”

I (Dawn) observed firsthand how the enemy destroys children with parents in ministry. “Family” must be a priority!

Melissa continues . . .  

There are so many things to love about ministry, like being able to be a part of someone else’s faith journey, using your gifts and skills for the Kingdom, and doing something with your life that is far beyond anything you could do on your own.

Unfortunately the “job” can become overwhelming. You can find yourself stuck in a never-ending cycle of trying to catch up. 

After fifteen years in full time ministry at a local church in South Florida, I finally realize a few things about ministry:

  1. You will never get it all done. There will always be room for improvement or one more thing on your ministry task list.
  2. It’s not all up to me. You are there to do your part, but the whole thing doesn’t rest on your shoulders. If it’s God’s will, He will make it happen— with or without you.
  3. Your family is your first ministry. If you are married and have children, they need to see they are number one in your life, not your job or ministry.

Ministry is fun, challenging, and it makes a difference; and the great thing is, whether we are in full-time ministry or not, each one of us is called to ministry. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing ministry a while, it’s important to learn how to keep first things first.

I almost lost my oldest son ten years ago when he was airlifted to the local children’s hospital where he spent 51 days in the PICU. Even now I shudder to think how close we came to losing him. By some miracle he walked out of that hospital.

That left a mark on our family. It changed us—some things good, some bad—and it certainly helped us rethink what’s important. 

We took our eyes off what was most important, and let our ministry take first priority instead of our family. That’s hard to admit, but it’s true. 

Since then, one of my new favorite sayings is “Family First.” Here’s what it means: We need you to do what you do at the church, in the schools, at your jobs, for sure, but your husband and child(ren) come first. If ever there is an emergency or something you need to tend to—be there. Be fully and completely there.

You only get one chance to be the wife or mom you can be. Someone else can be the room mom, the PTA president or do your job at work. But NO ONE can take your place when it comes to family.

Through that season we learned, slowed down and start reprioritizing family in the face of ministry; but, to be honest, “Family First” continues to be a constant challenge for us.

Friend, don’t miss out on the incredible blessing right in front of you.

Are you going to be perfect? “No one is perfect, not even one” (Romans 3:11 ESV).

Does that mean we don’t try?  No, it just means we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and do the very best we can with each and every day.

Whether at work, in the car line, at the PTA meeting, in the church or wherever ministry might take you, you are in the mission field. Your family needs you before you head out to serve others.

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her" (Proverbs 31:27-28 NIV).

Oh yes, our friend The Proverbs 31 Woman is an overachiever, but guess what, her family is her first ministry. She does what she needs to do for her family, and then she sets out to do other things.

By taking care of first things first, we have room to do the other things God brings our way. 

What are some ways you can start today to reprioritize your day so you can make your family your first ministry? Who do you need to talk to help you as you shift things around to make your family your ministry?

Melissa Mashburn passionately pursues God every day by taking her everyday, ordinary life and placing it as her offering to Him. She is an author, speaker, mom, pastor’s wife, and trained communicator through CLASSeminars. With her extensive background in ministry at the local church, Melissa leads women to “keep it real” in their lives and ministries. She is married to her best friend, Matt (22 years), and is the proud mama to two adult sons. You can find her on her site, Melissa Mashburn: Real Women, Real Life, Real Faith.

Photo Credit: Image ID : 27065415 -




Honoring Your Mom & Mom-in-Law This Mother's Day

Melissa Mashburn is known for "keeping it real" in home and ministry. In this special Mother's Day UPGRADE, she encourages us to consider gifts for our mom and mother-in-law that can't be bought at the store. 

"In this busy life we lead, it’s easy to just run right by Mother’s Day with a few flowers, chocolate and a homemade card and then check off the box that it’s handled," Melissa says. "The hard part with that is, there’s so much more to Mother’s Day than the gifts we give our moms and mother-in-law."

I (Dawn) think a key word there is "handled," as if Mother's Day is something to deal with and move on.  Melissa is encouraging us to be more intentional, respectful, thoughtful and loving.

She continues . . .

The hard part—and I’ll be the first to admit it—is that I want to claim Mother’s Day as “my day.” Chances are you do too.

Listen, we work hard all year long and need want a day for ourselves. There’s no doubt in my mind that we deserve it; but can I let you in on a secret. Your mom and your mother-in-law want that too.

It’s easy to get sucked into our own chaotic world of motherhood.

There’s the class projects, deadlines at work, carpool, practice for sports—and don’t forget the bottomless pit of laundry that miraculously seems to reappear just as you finish your last load.

Trust me, I know it’s not easy to add “one more thing” to the list. But let me share with you as a mom who is on the edge of the “empty nest” season:

Your mom and mother-in-law have been there, done that and have the t-shirt too.

They get where you are and also have an idea of what’s right around the corner for you.

Not everyone has a loving relationship with their mom or even their mother-in-law, but whether that relationship is easy or challenging, we should show honor to these important women in our lives.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Naomi and her two daughters-in-law. You can read their whole story in the Book of Ruth. What I love is, in their story there’s redemption, hope and love shown,  as well as deep honor between the woman, Naomi, and her mother-in-law.

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God" (Ruth 1:16 NLT).

There’s so much we can learn from Naomi and Ruth, but today I wanted to take a few moments to share with you three simple ways to honor your mom and your mother-in-law this Mother’s Day.

1. Pray for them.

They are in a different season of motherhood, and it might seem like it is easy for them since they don’t have little ones running around, but chances are they actually miss it.

2. Spend time with them.

Be available to talk, have lunch, grab dinner or just spend time with them doing regular, everyday things.

3. Listen to what they have to say.

Your mom and your mother-in-law have the gift of wisdom that comes from time. Hear what they have to say, and even when you don’t always agree, show respect for their opinions.

Gifts are great and always lots of fun, but it’s not really about the gifts for your mom and mother-in-law. They probably already have everything they need anyway, so instead of rushing out for those flowers, chocolates and cards this year, why not try something different.

If you are crafty and creative, you can package it up pretty—there’s probably something crafty on Pinterest—and give her a gift straight from your heart.

What are some other ideas you have for showing honor to your mom and mother-in-law this Mother’s Day?

Oh, by the way, this post wouldn’t be complete with a great big shout out and huge hug to my own mom, Regina, and my awesome mother-in-LOVE, Brenda.

These two women bless me, encourage me, challenge me and inspire me more than they’ll ever know. I love you two! 

Melissa Mashburn passionately pursues God daily, taking her ordinary life and placing it as her offering to Him. She is an author, speaker, mom, pastor’s wife and trained communicator through CLASSeminars, with extensive background in Women’s, Kids and Volunteer Ministry. Her passion is helping women “keep it real” in their lives and ministries. Melissa is married to her best friend, Matt (22 years) and they have two adult sons, Nick & Bailey. She loves to relax with a great book and giant cup of coffee. You can find her at Melissa Mashburn: Real Women. Real Life. Real Faith.

Photo Credit © Photographerlondon | - Female Holding Potted Plants With Mother And Grandmother Photo


How to Minister When There's 'No Time' for Ministry

Melissa Mashburn's insights into Ministry and Leadership are refreshing and practical, as is evident in this UPGRADE.

“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date,” Melissa says.

Does that sound familiar? I (Dawn) always used to feel pressed for time and often—to my shame—cut out ministry opportunities. Thankfully, the Lord showed me some of the wisdom Melissa talks about today!

She continues . . .

Do you remember the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland? You know the one, he was always running around in a flurry of activity. I can remember being put off that this silly rabbit who was always dressed up and looking so sporty. Within a blink the rabbit was off to wherever else he needed to be at that moment. He left and along with him a rush of anxiety passing right on by as well.

In the busyness of ministry, we can sometimes find ourselves stuck in a vicious cycle of running.

Hoping, dreaming and praying to be purposeful and effective in our ministries, we need to stop and remember we can’t do everything for everyone, but we can do something for one.

Everything was a whirlwind when rabbit was around, and yet, if we are honest for a moment, there are probably a few of us who are just like rabbit. Oh, we don’t mean to, of course, but the demands of ministry and family life can keep us bustling about our days just like that rabbit.

You look at the calendar and see it is overcrowded. Then you get a call from a woman who needs someone to talk to about a crisis in her life. The next “free” minute on your calendar is two weeks away and you're left in that space of “what am I supposed to do now, Lord?”

Oh, my friend, how I can relate to this. I have been in this very spot many times in my fifteen years of  ministry, and I want to share a few things I’ve learned along the way.

Here are three things to help you to minister when there’s “no time” for ministry:

1. Always first, go to God in prayer and ask for His help.

"Hear my prayer, O Lord;  give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!" (Psalm 143:1, ESV)

There is no way for us to be able to make sense of our already crazy schedules on our own. By seeking His guidance and mercy from the get go, we release ourselves from trying to “fix it.”

2. Ask God specifically what the next step is for you.

"The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives" (Psalm 37:23, NLT).

When frazzled by the demands of ministry, I have to stop and ask Him very directly and clearly, "What is the next step?"

What’s the most important thing God wants me to donot what I like to do or what I’m good at, but what has He specifically planned for me.

3. Do for one what you wish you could do for all.

 "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,  you did it to me" (Matthew 25:35-40, ESV).

Listen, ministry is not a nine to five job. We both know that. It can be demanding and overwhelming, but it can also be incredibly simple at times.

Do for one what you wish you could do for all is simply this . . . be fully present where you are at that very moment.

If you are:

  • at the grocery store, be a friendly face to the cashier.
  • in the lobby at your church and you see a new face, go up and introduce yourself—welcome them.
  • in the carline and someone cuts you off, let it go and let them get in front of you.
  • get an email from someone who is hurting, stop and pray for them right that moment.

Ministry doesn’t have to happen the way we always think it should. Sometimes we just have to be prepared to slow down the crazy rabbit in our lives and let God show us what’s next.

What can you do today to minister to others even though there’s not always time for ministry?

Melissa Mashburn passionately pursues God daily, taking her ordinary life and placing it as her offering to Him. She is an author, speaker, mom, pastor’s wife, and trained communicator through CLASSeminars, with extensive background in Womens, Kids and Volunteer Ministry. Her passion is helping women “keep it real” in their lives and ministries. Melissa is married to her best friend, Matt (22 years) and they have two adult sons, Nick & Bailey. She loves to relax with a great book and giant cup of coffee. You can find her at Melissa Mashburn: Real Women. Real Life. Real Faith.


Façades: Laying Down the Mask

With the rise of Facebook, people always see our better side, but do we really minister to people that way? Melissa Mashburn encourages us to lay down our phony masks in this Ministry UPGRADE.

“Ministry is tough,” Melissa says. “I get it. But it’s time we start to lay down the masks and put away the façades so people can see us—the real us—the us that Jesus has changed.”

 Oh, how I (Dawn) have seen this issue hinder relationships and ministry in the church. Jesus is calling us to get real!

Melissa continues . . .

 If you’ve spent any time in ministry, especially with women, chances are you’ve been hurt, burned, back-stabbed or misunderstood.

It’s painful. It’s brutal. It flat out sucks the wind from your sails. And in order to protect yourself from getting hurt again, you put up a façade.

Chances are you probably don’t even remember when you started to wear that mask, but to protect your heart, you did.

I did it too. After fifteen years in ministry, I have seen it all, experienced a lot of incredibly tough stuff and had my heart broken many times.

I built a protective barrier around myself—the façade—in order to keep people from getting close to the real me.

In doing so, though, I also kept myself completely isolated. That led to feelings of loneliness, isolation and, at times, even depression. It wasn’t until about six years ago I decided to lay down the mask and let God show me how to put away the façade.

Paul told the Roman Christians,

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT).

In other words, God tells us,

“Lay down your mask! Get real! Love people!”

If you are struggling with this like I have, here are a few things to help you as you learn to lay down your mask.

1. Pray First

Ask God to open your heart and allow you the opportunity to just be you. Ask Him to be your protector, and to also bring you a few truly special, safe friends who can come around you as you take these steps.

2. Talk to Your Spouse or Close Family Member

If you’re married, talk it over with your spouse. Ask him to be a part of the process with you and seek out his prayers.

If you’re not married, talk it over with a close family member who understands you and your struggle to be more authentic in ministry.

3. Talk to Your Pastor

If you’re in ministry at a local church, I encourage you to talk it over with your pastor. Ask him to pray for you as you step into new territory in ministry.

This takes another step of vulnerability. I understand that. But by bringing your pastor in on this process, he can help you venture into new territory.

4. Give Yourself Time

If you’ve been in ministry for more than ten years, you’ve probably slowly built up the façade. It’s not going to just disappear; it will take time.

Make sure you allow yourself time to release years of protective layers around your heart.

5. Give It All Back to God

Whatever steps you make, and however long it takes, if God has called you to ministry, He has equipped you to do it as well.

Celebrate the small steps. Give Him all the glory and continue moving forward.

I know it’s not going to be easy—it wasn’t for me either—but the women God has brought into our lives are desperate for women in ministry to be real, to show them what it is like to live out ordinary lives with God at the forefront.

Let’s take this step together and see what God will do.

Are you wearing a mask today? What is keeping you behind the façade? What will you do to “get real” so God can minister through your transformed life?

Melissa Mashburn passionately pursues God daily, taking her ordinary life and placing it as her offering to Him. She is an author, speaker, mom, pastor’s wife and trained communicator through CLASSeminars, with extensive background in Womens, Kids and Volunteer Ministry. Her passion is helping women “keep it real” in their lives and ministries. Melissa is married to her best friend, Matt (22 years) and they have two adult sons, Nick & Bailey. She loves to relax with a great book and giant cup of coffee. You can find her at Melissa Mashburn: Real Women. Real Life. Real Faith.


How to Take Off Your 'Junior God Badge'

Melissa Mashburn is a creative, busy pastor’s wife—perfect to share this Life and Ministry UPGRADE with us.

“Here she comes to save the day! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … it’s ... it’s just CRAZY that, in the midst of the many hats we wear as women today, we think everything relies on us to get it done,” Melissa says.

Uh huh. "Busy." That’s my (Dawn’s) middle name! And "Control Freak" is my old nickname, but I’ve learned to step back, get away from my to-do list, and ask God for my marching orders each day.

Sometimes, that looks nothing like what I’d originally planned. And sometimes, I just need to get out of the way.

Melissa continues …

In a world that celebrates achievement and getting things done, how do we slow down the need to control every detail of our lives and walk in faith that God has a perfect plan for everything?

How do you slow down when you have:

  • the big event that you are coordinating that is projected to have five hundred people attend;
  • the open house that you are planning all the details for;
  • the carpools that need to be set up;
  • doctors’ appointments for the kids;
  • as well as preparing meals for the homeless, the sick and the celebrations within your church family?

Oh, sweet friend, I know exactly the burdens you carry. I live them, carry them, and wrestle with them every single day too.

My hope is that we will learn how to take off our Junior God Badge, do our part, then get out of the way and let God lead the way.

Proverbs 16:9 says,

"We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps" (NLT).

Yes, we need to be obedient and do our part. I am in no way advocating we step back and take our hands off everything and “hope” that God works it all out. I don’t think that is what God wants from us at all.

The Lord absolutely wants us to do our part, and then—once we’ve done all we can—we step back and say, “The rest is up to you, God.”

Right about now you may be wondering, how on earth do we do that?

1) Ask the Lord for strength and wisdom to do the work He’s given you.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (James 1:5 ESV).

2) Remember Who you are working so hard for.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Colossians 3:23 ESV).  

3) Seek the support of your friends.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity (Proverbs 17:17 NIV).  

4) Do your part, then step back and let God do His. When He does, give Him all the glory.

Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God (Romans 6:13 NLT).  

Will it be easy taking off your Junior God Badge? No, it won’t. But it will be so worth it when you finally do.

There may be days when you take the badge off only to pick it back up later that same day, but that’s alright. Don’t give up, don’t give in—this will take time—but it will be so worth it when you finally lay it down and let it go.

What about you? Which of the four steps do you need to take to today to start the process of taking off your Junior God Badge?

Melissa Mashburn passionately pursues God daily, taking her ordinary life and placing it as her offering to Him. She is a writer, speaker, mom, pastor’s wife, and trained communicator through CLASSeminars, with extensive background in Women’s and Kid’s Ministry, and her passion is helping women “keep it real” in their lives and ministries. Melissa is married to her best friend, Matt (20 years), and they have two teenage boys. She loves to relax with a great book and giant cup of coffee. You can find her at Mel’s World with Melissa Mashburn.