As most professionals do, I try to improve at my craft. I spend time reading books on how to be a better youth pastor. Improve my skills. Be a better preacher. Be a better discipler. Be a better hype-man. Whatever it is, I want to improve at it. One of the best things that I could do is spend time seeing what other people are doing. Learn from their success and failures. Look at where they are going and see how it applies in my own life, context, and culture. I read their blogs, check out their web sites, and see how I can surround myself with as many highly skilled professionals so that I can be the best version of me. I try to take who I am, and be used to the best of my potential where God has placed me. Most days that is a great idea. There truly is a rich community of student ministry resources out there.
This wasn’t the case on Saturday.
It happened slowly. I can’t tell when it is about to happen. I don’t choose it.
But there it is…that amazing feeling of inadequacy. It says that everything you do, are, and are trying to be is never enough.
I will never be a good enough youth pastor. My group will never be big enough. I can’t get a graphic, sermon, illustration, game, trip, event, small group, leader training, parent meeting, or Sunday School Lesson right to save my life. If that is not bad enough I have placed myself and my professional ministry among the giants of Youth Pastor-dome that I have been reading, studying, and cyber stalking for years. I should have though about that before I moved to Orange County (every heard of Saddleback you moron?)
So what do I do when everything in me tells me to quit, give up, and give in? I quit. I turned off the computer & iPad. I took my family to eat some delicious Chipotle. After that, we went to the beach and I spun my three children around until they had to squat down so they didn’t fall off the earth. I hugged my wife (my biggest fan) very hard and I remembered that the best thing I can do it to not believe the lies that I tend to tell myself.
The danger of being all up in my head is that I look at what Doug Fields, Saddleback, Mariners, Youth Specialities, Youth Cartel, The Source4YM and any other youth ministry and church is doing and I combine them together. They become this super, giant, mega-losaurous youth ministry about ready to overtake the world (kind of like Voltron or when the Constructicons form to make “Devastator”).
It becomes what all of them are doing vs. what I am doing with 45-60 hours a week. I will never win this battle that isn’t actually a battle. Beyond that, I have been called to a very specific ministry that only I am fit for (though God using me).
The final and most damaging part in this, is I totally took God out of the equation. It was a check list of what I can and can’t do and how I am going to get it all done. Shame on me.
Some days I am the encourager. I want to be that to others in the hopes that they will stay in this weird profession of youth ministry for a very long time. I want to spend my time pouring into students so they catch a glimpse of the Eternal. Saturday wasn’t one of those days. Thank goodness I needed lunch, the beach, and most importantly, four of the people who keep my heart beating very strong.
And for today… I gotta go read some blogs 😉