Go Have a Little Experience
At times in my life and ministry I have been criticized or second guessed about the interesting path God has led me through. You see I am about to turn 31 in a few short weeks and since college I have now served in six cities and in about 11 different ministry positions. I lead Younglife as a volunteer and part-time, been a student pastor a few times, lead college ministry, been a minister of education, a minister of evangelism, served in a media ministry at an enormous church as a volunteer, been on a strategic team for a young adult ministry as a volunteer, been a family pastor, and now a church planter. Pretty crazy right.
There have been a number of times I have been questioned about, “If I made mistakes about taking that job?” and even more times it has just been assumed I did not by others. Over the years there have been numerous times that I have looked back and evaluated if I did make a mistake like that, but each time I can see what God was doing, how he used me coming, and going, and have confidence in following His call. During this most recent season of church planting I have again found a great comfort in the odd path that God has taken me through.
I have found, and been guilty myself, that most people sit back and believe themselves to be experts on everyone else’s role and position. This happens at every company as one department complains about how another department should do things, how their boss should do things. It happens in families as spouses complain about how the other spouse should do this or that, children complain about parents, parents complain about children, it just goes on and on. It is equally as true in the church as ministries complain about how another ministry is doing things and the supposed effects it is having on their ministry. Everyone complains at some point about the pastor and the music. It is so true, isn’t it?
Here is what I have realized though, we mostly complain about the things we really have no true knowledge about and experience in. How many people in the marketing department know what it is like to work on the supply or retail side of the company? How many husbands know what it is like to be a mother or children a parent? It is the same in the church, how many people in the church have any clue what it is like to be a pastor or worship leader, or fill in the blank? To be honest, most church staff members do not even know what it is like to be in the shoes of their coworkers. Most people sit around, make assumptions, based from their observations from their perspectives or from some book written by someone void of their context. Let me just say, I a have been guilty too many times and speak from my own experience. How often do people take the time to actually ask the person they are making an assumption about some questions like: What is like to do your job/lead this ministry? What are you biggest challenges? What are the things you wish you did not have to do? What are the things you love to do?
During this season I have learned this even more first hand and I have learned much about humility and confidence (not arrogance). Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” What might happen if we began seeing others more highly then we see ourselves? Maybe, we would quit making our assumptions and start having some experiences. So you think something might be wrong. Go ask, go build a relationship, and go serve.
I have come to a point, even while I am uncertain about what the future might hold for us as we are 2 weeks into the launch of a new church plant, to be thankful for the odd experiences that God has given me. It has humbled me to not be so arrogant to think I know all the answers to everyone else’s problems in contexts I have never myself been. It has also given me the opportunities to have experiences that most ministers and even pastors never have. Others then worship ministry I have literally served in leadership in every area of the church. I have served in a parachurch ministry, have had to fundraise, and I have had the unique experience of being a volunteer after being a staff member. It has taken me from being a punk, sitting in my office reading books and making assumptions about everything I have never experienced to be in mix of it all. It has given me humility to not assume I know what is going on even in areas I have experienced but in contexts I have never been in. I do not know the first thing about the challenges of church planting in Dallas, or the east coast, or west coast. I do not know the first thing about a youth pastor, family pastor, or children’s ministers challenges in a place I have never served. What I have learned is to be humble enough to ask questions, to care enough to want to help instead of sitting back and assuming I know what is going on. While at the same time having a confidence that I have experienced many general situations and God might have me in this relationship in this place to share my experience for another’s benefit.
Why do I share all of this? To challenge you to get out of your bubble and have some experiences. To quit making assumptions about things you have never experienced and instead challenge you to go ask, build a relationship, and serve. It is easy to sit on the sideline a be a parent yelling at the refs and coaches. It is hard and takes courage to get out of your seat and help coach, help ref, help serve. I don’t know all the answers and neither do you, ask God to put you in some experiences that allow you to learn, grow, and serve.
Be careful though, it just might not end up the way “it’s suppose to look”, you just might find your story looking confusing and crazy like ours. You might not have a safe and secure life, but you might find yourself with less regrets at the end of the day. You might find yourself spending less time talking about everyone else, and instead you might be out there with everyone else. You might find out what the Bible means when it says to be strong and courageous even when you are scared and confused. You might find out what it is like to continually have God prove Himself to you and have a peace that passes all understanding. Get outside the box, get in the game, go have a little experience.