Every once in a while it’s healthy to sit down and reflect on where you’ve been. As we wrap up a summer of ministry, I’ve taken a little bit of time to just pause for a second or two to consider what the past 12 months have brought. There have been many ups and a few downs along the way, but in all of it God has truly shown up! Below are my reflections, three significant failures on my part and the lessons learned.
The church I am honored to serve had to do a little shuffling when we found out that a couple of our staff (paid and volunteer) were pursuing other options. Which initially meant that a few extra things were added to my plate. This brings me to failure number one! A major flaw in my character is that I don’t let things just fall apart. If a job needs done and no one does it, then you can pretty much bet I’ll be in the thick of it making sure it gets accomplished. And that’s exactly what happened. When things started to fall, I started to pick more up. And well the more I picked up, the more I shuffled my schedule to be able to accommodate even more. Not a good way to live! This prevents others from having the privilege of serving and puts too much pressure on me.
The lesson? It’s ok to let things fall. It’s ok to let the non essential things in life, work and ministry fall to the ground and even break. If it’s essential or meaningful to the whole, someone will pick it up.
One area of ministry that I picked up along this yearlong journey was the youth ministry at church. And if I’m being honest, I pretty much stink as a youth director! I know it. The youth know it. It’s no secret at all. But when there’s no other option, we just make do with what we have. This would be in my mind failure number two. I am not the gaming, fun activity planning sort of guy. I’m the get the job done and move on kind of guy. So the youth pretty much suffered through the last 12 months of my youth leadership. They were very gracious! They laughed at my pathetic jokes and always gave me the benefit of the doubt. It’s like they were saying at least he’s trying.
The lesson? You know, I think even though I’m a pretty pathetic youth leader, I’m a better person for trying. Now don’t take that as egotistical because that’s not it at all. I mean that I now see grace in a whole new light! These young people showed me grace in the midst of my less than stellar moments of youth planning.
The last reflection was from our recent mission trip. And this brings failure number three. I don’t always ask the right questions! We just returned from a mission trip where I had the privilege to work alongside 19 of the most amazing servant hearts I’ve ever witnessed. These men and women, both youth and adult, poured blood, sweat and tears into each worksite. And that’s my fault because I didn’t ask enough of the right questions. If I had it to do over again, things would have looked a tad different. We still would have gone. And we still would have worked our backsides off, but we would have been a little better prepared and staffed accordingly.
The lesson? When you think you’ve asked enough questions you better sit down and think of about 10 more. Pretty simple. You’ll never know how much you should have known until it’s too late.
But the long and short of this whole reflection business is basically an apology. If I’ve let you down in the past 12 months (or more) it wasn’t intentional. I’m simply a man trying to do what he can to lift others to their highest potential in Christ. I don’t always do the right things. I don’t always say the right things. I’m going to continue being a failure more often than I can even iterate but one thing is true. My heart’s desire is for everyone with whom I interact to grow closer to Jesus. Picking up all of the extra tasks at church was only in an effort to lighten the load of those who’ve worked so hard. Leading the youth even though I know I’m not qualified was only because I truly value each of these young souls and what they offer to the Kingdom. I hope that as long as God grants me breath in these lungs I’ll continue to pour 150% of my effort into everything I do that he might get the glory. It never has been about me and never will be!
To God alone be the glory for great things he has done through the many amazing people He’s put around me.