It's 5pm on Wednesday, in just about 2 hours my students will be rolling through the doors and I'm still not completely finished preparing for youth tonight, but that's ok, it's just a matter of filling a few things in, for once I'm not panicking to get everything finished in the last 5 minutes before people are due to show up to the church.
Why am I not just finishing and then taking a few minutes to catch up on some sleep that I've sorely missed the last couple days? Well because just now a thought has illumined my mind and I have to write it down before I forget it (for you fellow Bill McAlpine Homiletics students, WIDOLIF).
You see, I've been struggling a lot lately with my work habits, with the setting I'm in (not the people, just the laid back/easy going/small town atmosphere) and I see all these people around me (in the bigger picture of the Church in North America), I read books of great leaders in the church. I watch videos of successful pastors, and hear sermons from the "big wigs" of faith and I get discouraged. Ironic isn't it? We're supposed to be encouraged from guys like that, God speaks through them, they're leaders of other leaders, they are admirable people.
As I sift through such messages, sermons, and whatever other training that they provide I find myself discouraged cause I don't look anything like them. Well most of them, I'm glad I don't have their physical appearance cause they're just funny looking (Philip Yancey anyone?), but where they are in life, how God's used them, the tremendous leadership qualities that exist in those guys and their success in ministry, I don't look anything like that.
Then it dawned on me, I'm not supposed to look like that. Maybe I'm not ever going to lead a congregation of 20,000 people. I might not have a youth ministry of 1000+ students. I may never write a book, or be sought after to speak at big events, or have youth pastors across the nation asking me the tough questions in hopes of an answer. I'm not supposed to look like them. And even if any or all of those things do happen in my life...It will have nothing to do with me, but everything to do with God's faithfulness.
And...if any of that stuff happens to me, it's often (I say that because of course there are some exceptions) not those guys who have just started out in ministry and still don't know the names of everyone they serve in the church, it's not the guy who's fresh out of Bible college and 6 months into his first real job in ministry. It's not usually the guys who are fresh off the line who are the ones that others look to for those things...It's those guys who have been around a while, they've put in years of service, they've tried and failed, they've crashed and burned (not all of course) they've been tested and they passed.
I'm not that guy, yet. I haven't been around long enough to try and fail, or try and succeed in big ways like that. I don't know enough to be able to give answers to other people, I've got little to write in a book that can help other people.
Scripture clearly speaks of young people and the significance we have in the church and the leadership potential that there is within us. Lots of us will automatically think of that famous verse 1Tim 4:12 "don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set and example...." This is all true, I can set an example for the believers (though I'm not always a good one), but there's still an element of that "seasoned leadership" that I just won't have, unless it's bestowed upon me by God, it's called the "seasoned" part.
I don't have that kind of experience, I'm not that old, I've not been through those kinds of trials and situations.
BUT I do have my own experiences to learn from, I've got the situations I'm currently in and those I've been in before.
The big question is....am I going to learn from them? What will I do with them as they come and go? Will I learn from mistakes/failures and successes? Will I repeat the good and drop the bad?
Maybe that's what I should focus on, instead of comparing myself to someone I'm not.