August 10th 2009 No comments yet
I used to serve as a college and singles pastor in Michigan from 2002-2005. My wife and I made some great friends up north, but it was a tough season of life for us in many ways. One tough dynamic was the internal and emotional pressure I felt as a leader of that group. During those years I felt intense pressure to perform and create the “best and biggest” college ministry in town (whatever that meant). Please understand that I didn’t say those words out loud nor did my wife nor did my supervising pastor. Nevertheless, the pressure to perform was a primary driver. Maintaining wasn’t good enough. That pressure did have its negative effects in the ministry, in my emotional health, and in my marriage. Looking back, I had a lot of growing up to do. Why the pressure was there is a whole other story, but I simply want to say that leaders, as well intended they may be, still may lead with mixed motives. I confess that was true of me.
Now as a new ministry begins at Stonebriar, mosaic…for singles in their 20s, I have spent a lot of time thinking, praying, and journaling about what real success will be for this ministry. I have absolutely no desire to experience the same kind of emotional unhealthiness those tough three years. And it is with that as a partial backdrop that I move forward and lead this new ministry. God has matured me a little since that time and because of that dark season (and I’m not referring to the 6 months of clouds during the winter). So as this new ministry begins, here are some commitments that I have made to myself, others, and God as we begin:
1. success will be based on our faithfulness not on whether the group size is bigger than 50, 100, or 150 people.
2. we commit not to compare ourselves nor compete with other 20 something singles ministries in the metroplex.
3. emotional health is a critical factor in spiritual health, therefore our leadership team will pursue growth in this area.
4. we will aim at reaching the heart of the 20 something, not just creating a cool program which will capture their attention for an hour and a half twice a month.
5. we will not fool ourselves to think that just because people are coming with their Bible in hand, singing along with the songs, and talking to others that it means that people are actually growing spiritually.
6. After all is said and done, we commit to preach the word, love the people, and pray that the Spirit will move.
These might seem elementary biblical principles to you. Good. Because they are. But to have the courage to live these out and the faith to leave ALL results to God is an entirely different story.
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