They look innocent, but trust me. They’ll rip the arm off a youth minister and devour it faster than you would think possible.
When a congregation in my church body wants to call a new minister, they put together a list of what their particular ministry needs. Usually a circuit pastor or district president will help in the process, though the bulk of the work needs to be done by the church council with input from other leaders within the congregation.
In other words, I really didn’t expect to be involved in the process for quite some time, if ever. (I have no intention of pursuing the position of circuit pastor, nor any other “high ranking” clergy; I simply don’t have the organizational skills.)
You’ve heard that thing about God laughing, right?
Tuesday I’ll be meeting with a few other men to draw up a call document. Our teen center, hopefully, will be getting its own full-time pastor. And now I need to sit down and figure out what exactly that ministry needs. I could rattle off a laundry list of necessities, but to rank them and really phrase them precisely? That’s a matter of skill that… well, apparently I’m going to be trying my hand at it.
First, he have the “Youth Minister Goatee,” because that makes him relevant.
I’m a little nervous about that, personally. God has greatly blessed the teen center and brought faith to a number of teens through that ministry. Teens are fickle, though, and it takes a special man to work with them. God must be laughing pretty hard, because I so didn’t relate to teens when I was one. And here I am, working with them on a regular basis as one of the pastoral advisors to the program.
I’m also concerned about the handoff; whenever the new minister arrives here, I’ll likely need to back off my hands-on involvement at least a little. Maybe it’s selfish of me, but I love working with the kids so much I don’t want to let it go. The teens are refreshing; I always know where I stand with them. If I say something stupid, they call me on it. I say something they don’t like, they let me know. My “normal” congregation? They’re not duplicitous, but they are adults and we adults like hiding our emotions to at least a certain extent, don’t we? Must be polite in society, mustn’t we?
I’m also a little concerned for the kids; even if the new minister is the apostle to the teens, well, teens are fickle. If it’s not the guy they’re used to, will they keep coming to the center? It’s a valid concern; after all, it’s hard to have a teen ministry without teens.
I’m also just plain concerned because… well, I don’t work well with others. Maybe this is just another way God is going to grow me, but like most Lutherans, I just don’t like change. And when it’s me changing?
And it starts Tuesday as I go to do my part in writing the call document. We want to get this right, and I’m a part of that.
You know that part of growing up where you feel like a fake? Where you expect someone to burst into your house and accuse you of making it up as you go? I had that feeling for a long time as a pastor. It still comes pretty often.
But now I’m doing something that most pastors don’t even get to do. And… who am I to do something like that? Who am I to figure out the qualifications for service in this setting, when I don’t even feel qualified to be here myself?
“And I ask God to help me.”
I need to go back to my ordination and be reminded: It’s not about me. My concerns? My worries? God’s bigger than any nightmare I can dream up. And he’s going to continue to grow me bigger, whether I want it or not.
What will come of a new minister here? I don’t know. But God does, and he’s got great plans.
I just have to hit myself over the head with a brick to get it through my thick skull.