I’ve been in ministry for a long time. Right out of high school. Okay it seems like a long time. As a matter of fact the first time I had the chance to lead in ministry was in an after school program where we’d pick up kids from a neighborhood near the church we attended in Hollywood. We’d bring them back to the church for a Saturday morning ministry almost like a VBS program. Did this for a long time.
My first real full-time ministry gig was at that same church that loved me often and my way of giving back to the church was by loving their kids often as I could like Jesus loved me. There are kids I still talk to on occasion and its hard to believe they’ve grown so fast. Teachers, physical trainers, Army folks. It seems like yesterday I was just sitting at camp with these same kids, eating, drinking, and watching kids come to know Jesus or serving side by side with them on some Mexico mission trip.
Hard to believe that someone took the time and believed in me that I had something to offer. Something to give. That my testimony and faith in God was of value in the kingdom and some how I got my little toe into the big show. As pastors I wonder if that’s how we’re perceived by others in the church? In some ways its like the way we look at an athlete. When they get to that place in their lives where they’re at their peak of their game. Maybe we are looked at in this way as pastors. This can be a joyful thought or an overwhelming thought in which I’d like to throw against a wall sometimes. With a smile of course. I hate that metaphor but it fits at least for now in my processing that occurs in ministry as a pastor.
Me in the big show? Hard to believe. Sometimes I have to pinch myself. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it took a long time for me to get to this place. God’s overwhelming grace. Not my strength. And sometimes I have to thump myself on the head that I’m still not completely ready and prepared for what I’ve already faced and will face on a daily basis in the life of the church as a pastor.
On a sweeter and yummier note there are times that I have to admit that although I continue to grow I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else in the church universal. At least not right now.
What’s frustrating is the assumption that we as pastors have got it all together. Because we are in the positions we hold that we are the chosen ones. We’ve been selected by God to proclaim “good news.” At least that’s how we’re perceived. This morning the heater wouldn’t work in church. One person said something to the affect, “just do that hot air stuff you do.” I smiled. There is a member I’ve served with who reminds me that I’m the dude with the robe. The robe? This robe that people like Calvin wore as a means for telling the world he was now in the big show. He earned his way and that he had some brains regarding who God was and is for us as his children.
Sometimes I don’t like that robe. It’s to heavy. In the summer time especially in the church I pastor it’s too hot to wear. I think it scares people. There are those though of previous generations in the church who love when I wear my heavy black robe. It reminds them of a time when the church was at its peak. Its glory day. There is this one sweet lady who reminds me that I look good in a tie with my robe. I made a deal with her that I’d wear it when I did a baptism or administered communion. She smiled. And when I forget she makes sure to jolt my memory not to forget.
Hard to believe. Much to learn. Still growing. Praise God that at this time in my life I get a small part in the sharing of GOOD NEWS. A little toe in the big show. I love what I do!