Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"My ministry is going to the best, most exciting ever!!!"

During seminary, my wise professors warned me about 'honeymoon stage' of ministry and the inevitable moment when all the romanticized expectations would meet reality. To all God-centered seminary professors, pastors and leaders, I say "Thank you for your patience with us 'still green', 'stars-in-the-eyes,' fledgling seminary grads." There's so much talk about re-inventing the church, making it so men don't hate going to church, being postmodern, being emergent...being relevant. May we, the younger generation of leaders, repent of and eschew our generational arrogance, thinking that the previous generation had no clue and we are God's gift to the church. Let us stand on their shoulders, learn from their mistakes, be always reforming, and be convinced of the supremacy and excellency of Jesus.

If your still enjoying the honeymoon, here's some advice...

Real ministry does not take place on a romantic balcony but on a spiritual battlefield.


dwight said...

Thank you Josh.... It is right on. So much is to change, but it is allowing Christ, the head of the Church to change that. I am not a seminary grad, but I get to see the spiritual battlefield and the only way to not get sucked up by it all is to completely trust in Jesus and to understand that we can not change anything unless God is working, at least a change for the benefit of His Kingdom.
I was thinking that ministry without consulting the King first is like a carpenter that builds a house without first checking with the management. Instead, he just goes ahead and starts building where he wants, how he wants, and when he wants... May we constantly look at how God tells us to do ministry in His Word!
Keep at it my friend, and love Jesus! He is the Lover of your soul! All for Him!


Jonathan Dodson said...

indeed...anything in particular bringing this home? care to share any narrative?

Josh said...

I would say that my ministry honeymoon stage was back in college when I was a youth pastor and music leader. This was when I was so convinced I knew what was really wrong with the church and I (thought that I) had a pretty good idea of how to fix it. That went on for about four years.

This experience actually helped me go into seminary with a more realistic view of long-term ministry. So the honeymoon warnings were'nt so radical to me. I knew that godly change takes time--both in ministries/churches and in individuals. Nevertheless, with all the good ideas I came across and the sharpening of convictions that I developed in seminary I knew that I would have to have a tempered spirit when I started serving in a local church.

Well, we are blessed at WBC with a lot of young men and middle aged men who are in leadership positions or who are leaders in training. Many of them are concerned that the church (in general) is trapped in traditionalism, moralism, consumerism, feminism, boring-ism, etc. The typical bible college/seminary stage in which all the flaws of the church are evident, but no clear remedy is offered.

One big topic is why men hate going to church and why so many young men walk away from their faith during the college/post college years. There's been a lot of talk about changing the 'forms' of the church. This has given Mark and me opportunity to steer the conversation back a notch towards the 'function' of the church first.

These have been great teaching and growing opportunities. But it still reminded me of the danger of romanticizing ministry and thinking the grass is greener on the other side.