Last night, I got to hang out with the CCK (Christ Centered Kids) group. They are our 5th and 6th graders.
Come this fall, about 15 or so 6th graders are moving up to our Youth Ministry.
I think a normal youth pastor would be thrilled at this thought. But, I find myself being terrified.
I’ve always been honest and open (maybe to a fault) on this blog and to everyone I meet (or at least I try my darndest to be).
With each conversation that takes place about the jr. high school ministry expanding, my heart sinks every time. And fear seeps in and lingers.
I’ve never been good with that age group. Maybe it’s because I keep telling myself and others “I’ve never been good with Jr. Highers” and now I’m starting to believe it. Well, this is the last time I will ever utter that sentence.
After much soul seeking and prayer, I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of this fear and uneasiness: expectations.
C’mon, with more kids, there are more expectations and the need for more results. Maybe that’s why I’ve always preferred small ministries. You can make mistakes, you can fail but the misstep is not as noticeable.
In previous years of my life, when faced with this kind of things, my defense mechanism was to disengage. Because, when I’m disengaged, I’m not too attached, and when I’m not too attached and something fails, it doesn’t affect me as much. Right?
But thankfully, I’ve seen the error of my ways and instead of disengaging, I plan to tackle obstacles with all that I have. I can say that because now I believe that Failure is an Option, as long as we learn from it and get up to try again.
Here’s the thing. All my anxiety, all my worries, all my fears… they exist because I’m making this all about me.
The simple prescription to all this is “Take it to the Lord in prayer.”
The fear and all that mess is closely tied with the stress of expectations of what people may have of what the ministry should look like. And once I let my mind focus on that, I’ve already lost. I’ve lost my focus and my way. If I’m stretching myself to meet people’s expectation of ministry, I’ve failed and probably will lose all the joy that comes with serving. I will never be “successful” if my goal is to appease the people.
So what do I need to do?
Seek God’s will.
Seek God’s purpose of the ministry.
Pray that my will will align with God’s will.
Pray that I will fix my eyes on Jesus and only seek to please God.
Everything else will then fall into place.
Not because God will magically or miraculously make things happen (and praise be to God when he does make things happen), but more importantly, God will change my heart and my focus. God will shift my line of thinking and change my perspective.
God will show me to reach for God’s kingdom and not to appease my ego or egos of church members.
God will focus my heart to ministry rather than results.
I’ll admit, the fear still lies within my heart. I have no idea what to do and where to start.
However, I know that God is in control, and as long as I follow God’s will, everything will turn out for the best.
That’s why I believe ministry can only happen one knee at a time.
Whatever issues we face, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Whatever fears we harbor, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Whatever success we achieve, take it to the Lord in prayer.
May you engage in ministry one knee at a time.