Have you ever gotten a wake up call while staying at a hotel? These calls tend to be jarring because hotel phones, for whatever reason, tend to be loud. They are necessary, but often unwelcome...especially to deep sleepers.
You've heard the old proverb, "The proof is in the pudding." Well, I have a new one for you, "The proof is in the schedule."
Someone once defined insanity as "doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results." Isn't this what typical youth ministry is doing? We have the same basic strategies as we did 30 years ago and we are getting the same basic results (maybe even less!)
Low pay, high stress, discouraging results, no respect, church politics, parental expectations, self-induced pressure....The list of reasons why many youth leaders quit youth ministry could go on and on.
This post is from my good friend Brent Crowe whose new book, 'Moments 'til Midnight: The Final Thoughts of a Wandering Pilgrim,' comes out in September. I read this book and it's amazing. You should read it too. In the meantime I hope you're encouraged by Brent's thoughts on living out our faith as daring, faithful pilgrims and that you'll check out this powerful new book! —Greg
'Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!" Psalm 27:14
If I were the devil I'd distract the body of Christ with more and more meetings. I'd get Christians so involved with their churches they didn't have time to get to know their lost neighbors and reach them with the Good News of Jesus Christ. I'd have them join committees, start small groups and become church leaders, leaving them no time to accomplish the actual mission Jesus left for them.
We all make mistakes. And God can use all of our mistakes, missteps and mess ups as essential ingredients in transforming us into his masterpieces!
Over the last 27 years of full-time professional ministry here are my ten worst ministry mistakes:
1. Not prioritizing prayer
Up until 2008 prayer was the caboose, not the engine, of my ministry efforts. Sadly, it took The Great Recession to see true progression in my prayer life. Now prayer, specifically intercessory prayer, is driving my ministry efforts forward in ways I never could have imagined. Learn from my mistake in this area and let prayer propel your life and ministry efforts forward (1 Timothy 2:1-8.) You will not regret it because God will do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine...."
NEWSFLASH: Ministry can be extremely stressful (And all God's people said, "No duh!") From relentless meetings to the unmet expectations of pastors, peers and parishioners, the daily grind of day in and day out ministry feels like it may crush you at times.
The same is true of me and the ministry I help lead, Dare 2 Share. I'm on the road a lot, preaching across the country in various venues. When I'm back in the office, there are meetings to participate in, books to write and money to raise. All of this, combined with leading and loving my own family, can create quite a bit of stress that can wake me up in the middle of the night with those various "Oh no!" moments of realization.
"Yes, salvation is free BUT it will cost you everything."
"Sure it's by faith in Christ BUT you also have to get baptized."
"Of course it's a matter of believing in Jesus BUT you also need to go to church, read your Bible, blah, blah, blah."
These statements (and tons more) litter far too many Gospel presentations of far too many preachers today. They give the Gospel a big BUT and that is not flattering to the message of God's grace.
The Apostle Paul put it this way in Romans 3:22-24,