Qualified For Ministry.

Today I talked with a friend who’s just been given the boot from a ministry position. It took a really long time for him to get there, both in terms of life preparation, listening to God and then leaping. And it’s never gone as planned. First it was going to be a full time position, and then it was parttime. Now, they don’t want to pay him, but they offered him the 25-35’s ministry to start from scratch.

Granted.. there are many things I don’t know about the situation, and I’ve been really impressed with this guy’s humility towards his leadership, and desire to get the thing sorted out. But there’s been no process. He doesn’t have much understanding of what’s going on, but the Senior already had a meeting with the youth leadership to say what the deal is.

These were the questions I asked him:

Outside of this situation, what’s the whisper of God saying?

What can you do with the time that’s been freed to pursue that call?

What are you prepared to do to follow God in this thing?

How are you relating to God through this whole process?

Unfortunately, this youth pastor isn’t in the Baptist family. Or maybe that’s a fortunately. I know that these things happen still in lots of places, but it’s sad to think that it’s a process he has to go through relatively alone, pretty much reliant on his family to help him through, and trusting the church to demand good process.

Here’s A Potential Generalization, Not To Be Misconstrued

I get concerned about senior pastors leading churches who mistake ‘measures’ for ‘expectations’. It’s a same-old, same-old story. The job description says something nonsensical like ‘see spiritual fruits, young people growing, discipleship’, when the expected visual result is mostly in measures like attendance, rolls, participation.

I suspect that is what’s happening here. A big case of ‘how can we get the kids coming to our programme?’. But the geographical position of this church and it’s local area would reflect a statistically slight chance of it exploding into a major youth ministry. The area is saturated with a number of medium – large size ministries, and critical mass is valid in youth ministry. At each end of the spectrum there are solid, large youth ministries happening with historical credibility. In between are dozens of smaller ministries.

This of course, is irrelevant in the light of what God can do, but the question to be asked, by the senior leadership as well as the youth pastor should really be, what is God doing amongst us, and how can we express that to the community around us?

Count one more for the road, Mike. I just hope that he finds his pathway from here, and doesn’t give up on listening to the Voice.

I’m going to give him some books, and a lot of prayer.

one of our brothers is falling

not because he was careless

not because he wasn’t making the effort

sure, the hill might have been a little slippery

but he was sure trying to stay upright

but now he’s falling, Lord

and someone needs to help catch him

to wipe his tears, to comfort

someone to encourage him back onto his feet

another to pat him on the back

one with a bandaid to put on the wound

a friend to know when it should be exposed

someone to point out all that went right

don’t let him simply hear echoes of words

or the emptiness of where explaining ought to be

help him to keep his ear to the ground

to hear Your whisper for here and for now

keep tomorrow certain in his heart

for we know You are faithful, Lord

mostly Lord, help us remember

that this in itself is not a career

it’s a heartbeat, a calling

and something more earthy.

Lord keep us close as we ought to be

remember our brother, help us stay clean.

Qualified To Theologize

Stu can now blog from anywhere. But is he qualified to blog? By this I mean, Stu’s blog is infinitely more intelligent than mine.. but is he more theologically trained than I? This, I should establish.

Relevant why? Well.. give me a theologian who doesn’t at times get frustrated with the content of many of our worship songs. Give me a theologian who doesn’t sometimes scoff under their breath at the more meaningless, throwaway lines that fill our slick multimedia presentations.

I was talking with one such Songwriter on sunday, where he voiced his growing interest in theology and a certain reluctance to delve too deeply into it, feeling ‘under-qualified’.

Perhaps it’s with undignified restraint that I ramble my meager offerings to this table (of sorts). But that someone should feel so excluded from the gathering.. made me feel very uncomfortable. So theologize, I say. Wholeheartedly and rambuctiously, delve into the deep mystery of our God. Our songs will benefit, as will our dialogue.

So move over. If you are an overqualified theologian, make room at the table for us young’uns.