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Went night hiking in the Shenandoah National Park last week. What that meant was traveling with no natural light just a few dinky head lamps. It was a pretty surreal experience because of how vulnerable I felt climbing up the backside of a mountain not knowing what was around me and my companions. During one water break I decided to turn off my head lamp and was immediately consumed by the darkness and a rush of adrenaline went through my soul. I was doing something dangerous and I loved it.
One of the reasons I love the outdoors is because of how it pushes me as an individual and encourages me to grow. The bigger the challenge the more I learn about myself.
Ministry should be the same way; however, there is always a push back. With all the stress, tension and confrontation we face, there is a tendency to just have our systems and structures to run smoothly. You know, hit that zone where you can just sit back and enjoy the fruits. But a ministry like that is unappealing to those you are trying to reach because it is:
- Lacking Risk – Risk is a situation involving exposure to danger. Now, that doesn’t mean you should put everyone’s life at danger; however, you need risk. The risks we need to take in youth ministry need to come from dreaming big (How to dream big, click here). Risk in ministry means taking shots at growth even if it means failure. It means trying something new, even if you are afraid of people’s reaction.
- Inauthentic – An authentic ministry means that you are willing to speak Truth even if it means upsetting a few people. I’ll admit I’ve sugar coated a couple of messages because I was afraid of scaring some students away. Instead of showing them my true heart I showed them a youth pastor who is afraid of judgment. How do you think that translates into their everyday life?
- Insider Focused – If you care more about the insiders your jokes, activities and games are catered to the regulars. You care more about what your committed students want instead of thinking about impacting the God seeking teenager’s life. While there is nothing wrong with serving your student leaders and core team, you need to remind yourself that there are so many more out there.
If your goal is to be comfortable, then reevaluate why it is you are in ministry. Our goal shouldn’t be to GET COMFORTABLE, it should be to GROW CONFIDENT.
When we are confident with the path that God has laid out for us, we can take risks because we trust He is in control. We can be vulnerable because we are proud of who God created us to be. We can be selfless because you know that God’s love is strong. When we shoot to be safe it means we are looking to take control away from God. All you’ll find is yourself frustrated and your ministry shrinking.
Do you think it’s okay to be comfortable in ministry? Explain.