Amen to that! 😉
As I was surfing the net this morning, I ran across this story of Tim Schmoyer, a youth pastor who had to leave a position and how the pastor realized the hurt he’d inflicted. It’s so ironic that pastors do the same thing to youth pastors that at points in their life they’ve experienced.
My Former Pastor Apologizes
Wow. The title should say enough, huh? Definitely wasn’t expecting this one.
Last night as I was on my way out the door, my cell phone rang. Didn’t
recognize the number, but immediately recognized the voice to be that
of the sr. pastor from my former youth ministry. I resigned from past
position about two years ago for several reasons that are unnecessary
to go into now. Regardless, I unfortunately haven’t talked with him
much since then. Through word of mouth I heard that the church
eventually disbanded and ceased to exist, which was disheartening to
hear. Although I’ve been in touch with several students from that
ministry and even his son from time to time, I really haven’t kept in
touch with him at all.
So when I heard his voice I was pretty surprised and unsure how to
react. As I drove to a friend’s house for dinner, we had a good time
talking and catching up a little. He told me about his current
part-time position at a new church and some of the expectations and
pressures he was feeling from the sr. pastor there. As he vented some
of his frustration he referred to a moment earlier that day and said,
“So I sat there on the pew and started thinking, ‘Is this how Tim
Schmoyer felt when he worked under me? Did I do this same thing to
him?’”His conclusion was “yes,” that he found himself in a situation
very similar to the one I was in at his church. So he felt compelled to
contact me and apologize for it. Wow.
Working at that church was a huge learning experience that has shaped
my philosophy of ministry in ways that are still probably unforeseen.
One way I do know it has changed, though, is how I work with the
volunteer youth leaders God has entrusted to me. Instead of plugging
people into my vision and using them to fill my empty holes, I’ve found
it works much better to hear their dream for ministry and equip them to
pursue it. Instead of saying, “Mr. Adult Volunteer, I need you to teach
Sunday School and lead a new small group on Wednesdays,” I now say,
“Mr. Adult Volunteer, what is drawing you to youth ministry and what
passion is God wanting you to pursue in this area?” Although Mr. Adult
Volunteer may do great at teaching Sunday School and although he might
make an exceptional small group leader, he will still thrive best when
he is equipped and encouraged to pursue the dream God placed in his
When we follow our passion, we somehow pursue it differently than
something that’s just assigned to us to fill a “gap.” We end up
pursuing it in such a way that’s contagious. Other people want to jump
on board and rally behind us because it’s something they can see and
feel in a very real way. Somehow it becomes more “tangible” than just
an Sunday School teaching assignment.
I’ve decided to trust that God will supply the volunteers needed to
run the youth ministry. I trust that the volunteers He brings each
contribute a unique vision that they feel called to chase after and
accomplish. It is my job to hear their dreams and help them make it a
reality, as they do the same for me. As I see it now, that’s what a
ministry team is all about.
I must totally agree with what you have offered here.
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