What would you say if I said that our job as youth workers is in part to make our pastors look good? Yeah…that sounds kind of bizarre but I think there is some truth to it. (And to be a little more accurate I suppose a part of our calling is to make our churches look good too.)
Youth workers – We get to pour our lives into students, their families, and anyone else that we get the opportunity to minister to. And the greatest reward of that is simply knowing that we’ve been used for eternal purposes and that peoples lives are being changed by God’s grace and work and that we get to say that we had the privilege to be a part of it.
Now work with me as I take that last paragraph back to my first sentence. When we can look back and see the good ministry experiences that we’ve been a part of the truth of the matter is that our lead pastor/senior pastor sometimes wind up looking pretty good in people’s eyes. They go to rotary meetings or pastor’s lunches and others tell them how glad they are to hear of “their flourishing ministries.” And you know what….It’s for good reason that this happens…they are the ones who lead the church in many ways, they allow us to lead, and I think you can name many other ways that point to them deserving some accolades.
Now sometimes our natural response when someone else gets compliments that we think are due us is to get frustrated, get mad, or even hold a grudge against them but in the scenario I’m describing the ideal is that those who serve under the leadership of their pastor should be making their pastor look good and that’s what gets me to what my REAL main point is.
For as much fun as it can be to partner with our Senior Pastor’s, for as much of a partnership as it might seem to be, and for as much as it might seem that we’re the ones deserving ALL the reward and props…the truth is that as we serve, we serve under our pastors and it’s ok/right/good that we make them look good. It’s OK if our pastors, churches, families leaders look good and we NEVER look good because we don’t serve for the applause of men…we serve because of our calling and love for student ministry.
Even if it seems like our Senior Pastor had nothing to do with any success (whatever that means since success is so hard to define or measure) we still serve under their leadership and we need to keep in perspective the role of seniority that they have in our lives.
As I think on this, I think of 3rd John where John writes his friend Gaius and in those words he encourages, challenges and instructs. This isn’t an apple to apple comparison to a Senior Pastor and his staff or volunteers but it does reflect a picture of a wise veteran giving instruction to one who needed some instruction and council. It’s a picture of what can be for us. (And this book also shows us what it looks like when someone freelances and does whatever they want in the person of Demetrius.)
Now as I reflect on all I’ve said, I guess it’s best I better state my first point that as we serve and follow our leaders it’s just fine if we make them look good in the eyes of those whom they shepherd because ministry isn’t a competition or pageant….It is a place to serve….Let’s pray that we are people who more and more respect and follow the lead of those whom have been placed over us.