A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet with a fellow youth pastor named Landry who works at a Church in downtown Vancouver. Above is a photo I took as we walked around talking about life and the complexities and challenges of being in ministry (Landry really suffers for the Kingdom as you can tell). While we walked he expressed some frustrations with the other parts of ministry that often take time away from serving Youth. He was frustrated with the amount of meetings, the amount of bureaucracy and other elements that someone who is new to Church ministry might not know are part of the gig and he was simply looking for a healthy perspective on how to embrace it.
A friend of mine once referred to this as “Feeding The Monster”. He expressed his begrudging acceptance of attending board meetings, all-staff lunches, health and safety committee get-togethers and taking tickets at the Children’s department nativity presentation. For my friend it was not that any of these events was bad or had no value, but for each of us, we recognize that an hour spent doing something other than focusing on our students and leaders is an hour that we might not get back. This past week, on top of leading our student ministry, I preached at our main services, taught at our local Christian school and then did two funerals. It was hectic and exhausting but as I reminded Landry, its part of the deal.
When I get frustrated about meetings and pastoral requirements I have to remind myself of this:
The Youth Group Exists To Serve The Church, not the other way around. If it were not for the loving and prayerful generosity of the rest of the Church, our youth group would look much different. We exist as a part of the body of the church, to serve, support, encourage and be a part of all other ministries.
I Am Not Building My Own Church. When I put my head down long enough and focus, I can easily get in the mindset that my ministry is the only one, and convince myself it is the most effective. What happens is that I lose sight of that we are building The Church and if our goal is to have students successfully assimilate into the body, I need to be working with other departments to collaboratively plan for this to .
We Are Called To Be Pastors To The Whole Church. It took me a while to grow in my comfort level to pastoring people 2-3 times my age but as I have grown in that, I have watch God grow me in my patience and love for the older people in our church. Sadly there are weeks like this week where pastoring them means leading a memorial for two of them. Funerals are never easy, but it’s a role that I have grown into as the Lord has shown me that my leadership is wider than just leading our High School students.
The responsibilities that each of us take on outside of our specific roles can be frustrating and can seem like we are simply feeding the Church monster. But in reality its fulfilling our role as a pastor, and reinforces that we are a part of a much bigger story that is unfolding each week at our churches. The key is that we need to see it as a blessing to be a part of and not a burden to endure.
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