Ever wanted to curl up in a ball somewhere and cry until you can’t cry anymore?
I’ve had that feeling several times in my ministry career and one day, recently, I experienced one of those times.
That day was, quite possibly, the worst day of my ministry career.
Here’s how I came to that conclusion:
I heard a student sharing recently with another teen about how he wanted more of a passion for Christ and for reaching people who don’t know him. Then he proceeded to talk about how much he admired another person’s passion and said “I want his passion!”
As I was hearing this my first thought was “this is exciting. He wants more passion!”
My next thought nearly killed me inside.
“Is he having to look elsewhere for an example?” I thought.
This thought took me back about 10 years. About 10 years ago is when I received one of the greatest (if not the greatest) compliments of my life. A fellow pastor told me that he had never met someone who talked about Jesus Christ or had more of a passion for Him than me. I remember being completely speechless when he said this.
And now I shudder to think that this pastor would not say the same thing (of me) if he knew me as I am today. I believe I’ve lost some of the passion… and, quite arguably, I’ve grown complacent at times in my faith over the last 10 years.
This realization rocked me.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want the people I lead to have to look elsewhere for an example of Christ.
A couple months ago I read Paul’s words to the Corinthians “Imitate me. You should imitate me just as I imitate Christ.” (1 Cor. 4.16; 1 Cor. 11.1). When I read this I thought “Paul is definitely on a whole other level than I will EVER be. How in the world could you ever be at a place spiritually that you could say…’Ok, everyone, look at me! I’m the example’?” Paul was on a whole other level — let’s be clear. However, he’d be the first to say that he wasn’t without sin (the ‘chiefest of sinners’, he’d say!)… and that he was encouraging them to follow his example so long as it reflected Christ. I want to be able to say the same thing.
I want a burning passion for Christ and a passion to reach others who don’t know Him. I want the students I lead to not have to look elsewhere for an example… not to the youth pastor down the street, nor the preacher or Jesus-follower from the history books, but the living-breathing-Jesus-freak (named Terrace or “TC” as he’s commonly called) that is standing right in front of them!
So if you were to ask me “What would you say has been the worst day of your ministry career?” I’d probably reply, “the day I thought that students may have to look elsewhere for an example to follow.”
Bottom line: I’m not where I want to be. I’m not the example I should be. And, quite honestly, I’m not okay with that. Are you?