For the past few weeks here on MTDB we have been going through a series about the 6 things our students must learn from watching our lives. When we preach on these topics, it needs to come from a place on integrity in our lives that we have been living out these values.
My life before going into ministry was very different than my life now. I was working as a general manager of a division of a company running a million dollar a year auto-shop. I was working from 7:30-6:00 M-F and one or two saturdays a month with 2 weeks of holidays. It was gruelling, stressful and demanded tangible, measurable outcomes of my work and effort. There was no showing up late, there was no leaving early and working from home? Yeah right!
Pastors Can Be Lazy: As I transitioned into ministry where the schedules were flexible, the expectations were less measurable and the rigidness of time and place lessened, I began to notice something startling. I noticed that it was very easy to slack off and get away with it, to be lazy and have no one notice and my start time of 7am moved to 8:30 over a few months. I meet youth workers all the time and many are hard working, diligent and focussed and others would have a hard time arguing they worked more than 30 hours of their 40 hour work week. If we understand 1 Corinthians 10:31 to say that whether we eat or drink that we do it all for the glory of God, you better believe that our work in the Church is an act of Worship.
A friend of mine who I would consider the hardest working Youth Pastor I know has built a culture in his team that even after serving all weekend at their youth conference, that he is the first guy in the office monday morning ready and working on the next youth night. I am inspired by people like this who work to honour God by serving the kingdom well. They understand that hard work can be contagious and his people need to see it in action.
There are lots of stereotypes about youth pastors and I am saddened that one of them is lazy and what is worse is that if you are lazy, your students are going to notice it. You set the culture of your team, your leaders and thus your students. Are you willing to stay late or show up early? On the same day? Are you willing to go out of your way for the sake of a student or leader in need? Don’t reinforce the stereotype.
Don’t Take Advantage: It can be so easy to get to a place where we take advantage of the freedom extended to us and if you were really honest with yourself and counted your hours that you worked in the past month averaged out would you be below/above/right at what you think you work. We are broken people and can deceive ourselves into thinking that we are working more than we are. I have seen it on our staff team, and seen in countless other ministries and its disappointing that we take advantage of the calling to ministry for our own advantage. Students don’t always have the best examples at home when it comes to work, and I pray that students see my diligence of hard work as a better way to live.
Your leaders need you to work hard, your students need you to work hard and your church needs you to work hard. Your work is a worship to the King, give it your all.
I was in Houston a few months back and the lady at Enterprise Rent-A-Car said to my wife and I about our all-out road trip we were heading out on “Hey man, if you are going go for it, you better go for it” I like that, I am going for it. I am all in. How about you?
-Geoff Stewart @geoffcstewart