In March, I will celebrate seven years of being on staff at Fairwood, six and half of those years as the lead youth pastor. I look at back at where we were when I started on staff, a youth ministry that was confused and wandering from idea to idea; and I am proud of where we are now. Over the past several years we’ve brought stability to the students and parents. We’ve become a reliable, safe, and in my opinion we’ve become an above average youth ministry.
The truth is I’m just not satisfied with that any longer. I long for something better, I know we are capable of it; what’s more, I know God is calling on us to take the next step. Due to recent events; Pastor Brian arriving and leading our church forward, our latest youth camp, various conferences I’ve attended over the past two years, books I’ve been asked to read, and relationships I’ve formed with youth pastors in the area I’ve come to a few conclusions. I’ve started getting honest with myself. I’ve been asking, “What are the major factors that are preventing us from stepping up and moving to the next level of ministry that God has for us?”
Lots of answers come to mind, but they all seem surface and shallow. The answer that I land on every time is one that is scary to confront. I’m finding that I am what holds us back. I don’t mean that in a self-demeaning way, I’m simply saying that as the youth leader grows so grows the ministry. I must continue to grow and get better as our leader if we have any chance at all of success.
Here’s what I’m really getting at. I am doing too much right now and it’s time to face facts and give away my job. I’ve known this for years, probably ever since I started. I can remember a conversation I had with one of volunteers back in our second year of ministry. I told him, “My job is to work myself out of job.” Head knowledge is so much different than actual applied knowledge. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what this all means, why is it that I haven’t been able to give certain parts of my job away? Why am I walking out of the worship portion of our Wednesday service to print out guest cards? What the heck is wrong with me?! We are reading a book as a staff called, “Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing,” as I scanned the table of contents I realized I am guilty of many if not all on the list. According to Geoff Surratt, the author of the book, the number one stupid thing that keeps churches from growing is when the pastor tries to do it all.
Ephesians 4:11-12 gives a pretty clear job description for pastors. “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” (NLT)
I am beginning to understand my job and now it’s time to do it. No more solo act for me! It’s time to empower the leaders around me to lead this ministry forward. We have been called to a new place, a new level in ministry. It’s time we go there. Wanna come?