In ministry we sometimes find that a particular thought has gripped our hearts. We begin to examine that thought and study it out, until finally that thought has completely consumed us. Sometimes, by the time we get around to finally delivering that thought, we are prompted to make the statement, “I’m not sure if I’m preaching to anyone other than myself on this one.” Well, this is one of those times for me. Hopefully there is something in here you can glean, but if not, this post will be cathartic, at least.
Most human beings (and I is human…I think) struggle, at least from time to time, with pride. Especially when we know we’re really, really successful with something. And while I don’t claim to be an expert by any stretch, I feel like I’m pretty successful at student ministry. In my 3 years as a Youth Pastor (yes, I have an official title now…go me), I have seen our Youth Service attendance grow from about 15-20 on average to 35-40 on average. We’ve had young people receive the Holy Ghost. Even in Friday night Youth Service now. I’ve seen many baptized, and several declare a call for ministry. Our events are very well done, and we I’ve had the opportunity to mentor a group of students to the point to where we can confidently have student-led services.
And, well…to be honest…sometimes it gets to my head.
I saw a video the other day by Francis Chan that’s just eating my lunch. It’s an introduction to his book Erasing Hell, which essentially is a rebuttal to Rob Bell’s position (or lack thereof) on hell in his book, Love Wins. What really gripped me was the first half. You can see it here:
As I watched this video, I felt consumed with conviction. Have I ministered to students from a platform of humility? Have I carefully presented truth, understanding that souls hung in the balance? Have I let the love of God shine through me, even when presenting hard truth, or have I wrinkled my forehead, pointed my finger in their faces, and said “It’s in the Bible, so if you don’t like it, you’ll have to get over it?”
Sometimes I catch myself saying things like, “MY ministry,” or “MY students.” This isn’t my ministry. It’s His, and he’s gracious enough to allow me to be a chosen vessel. These aren’t my kids. They’re His, and He has trusted me to love them like He loves them.
So my prayer is simply this: Lord, help me keep in the forefront of my mind that my job is to lead students to a greater relationship with You.” That’s it. If accolades come, great. If I get invited to preach more places, awesome. If I’m selected to speak at Youth Worker events an seminars, rock on. But if I am never recognized for the good I’m doing….oh well. Because, ultimately, this is bigger than me. And it’s bigger than you. It’s not about us…it’s about His kingdom. And that works just fine for me.