Tuesday, March 25, 2008

they drip with pride

Last week I attended my 13th straight Penn-Del District Youth Convention. You would think year thirteen would be the same old thing, but this year God gave me some unique perspective. This was the first year I was not there as a youth pastor. Instead, this year I was there as a "vendor" doing promotion and networking for Gettysburg Master's Commission. I got to meet some interesting people. My thoughts are below . . .

I've been out of college for almost 9 years now and all the people I went to school with have chosen their path for this season of life, for the most part. The ones who are still in ministry (and that # is not large) seem to have split into two groups. One group is the people who have been at 4 or 5 places (usually because they got fired or had serious personal conflict) over the years and the other is people who have either been in the same place the whole time or have moved because of new opportunities or promotions from God.

The characteristics of each group are strikingly different and very telling. The group that's bounced around are the ones who will talk at one hundred miles per hour about how cool their current position is and how great all the stuff they're doing is. Usually they will add in how stupid the last couple senior pastors they worked for are. They just drip with pride. Those in the other group rarely talk about ministry, unless you ask. Instead they talk about family or how good God is to them. And they actually ask questions about how you are. Sure, they are excited about what God's doing around them, but they are humble, for the most part. It just rushes me back to that concept that God will block us because of our pride. I guess that's bad enough in itself, but these people I'm talking about are leaders, mostly of young people. Many young people don't know the difference between a person who's excited about their opportunities and one who's an arrogant jerk. I think of the mistrust generated toward the church and toward God through the actions of these “leaders”.

So, which group am I in? I can say I've been in both over the years. I hope and pray I'm in the group with staying power (sans arrogance) now. If I've learned two things over the years, they are (1) that I'm not safe and I cannot trust myself and (2) that God's grace is sufficient for me and my mistakes. Fortunately for those I lead, it's very possible to learn from the mistakes of others. I view leadership now as an even more important assignment from God than I ever have. What a valuable lesson God has taught me again. Thank You, Lord.

1 comment:

shawna m. said...

you are so good, j! always typing up all sorts of things i really need to read.
i longed for youth convention while you guys were there. jake was here with me, and we took some time and really prayed for the simple youth kids. we were really missing it.