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If Jesus advertised for a youth pastor

For an indicator of the state of youth ministry, just look at the Christian job posting web sites ChurchStaffing.com or ChristianPlacements.com. The latter site boasts 13,500 resumes in its data base. I wonder – if someone were to make a posting for one of Jesus’ disciples, w…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

For an indicator of the state of youth ministry, just look
at the Christian job posting web sites
ChurchStaffing.com or ChristianPlacements.com. The latter site boasts 13,500 resumes in its
data base.

I wonder – if someone were to make a posting for one of
Jesus’ disciples, what would it say?

    Itinerant evangelist seeks apprentices

    Job description: Make
disciples

    Location: Wherever
the Spirit leads
    Required experience:
None
    Salary: Yeah, right!

Somehow I struggle to see Jesus running an ad for his
ministry. But if he did, how many would
sign up for this?

So, we’ve come a long way.
Let’s see where we’ve arrived. In
our unquenchable search for security and predictability, we’ve taken Jesus’
command to make disciples and built a career track around it. Careers are about a sequence of positions
that usually show increasing responsibility and skill development. They focus on an individual rather than a
cause. Careers can be tracked on a resume
– they begin with education and detail a series of jobs.

Careers are built upon a process of hiring, firing, and
promoting. Careers involve contracts
between people who barely know each other who state: “I’ll work and you pay
me.” In the past, people spoke of a
“profession” or a “trade.” Whatever you
started out doing is where you ended up.
Now, they talk about their careers.

The problem is that many of the people in charge of Jesus’
mission today have wandered so very far from his model. With little biblical basis, they’ve created a
career that is largely unsuccessful in carrying out Jesus’ primary
mission.

Other than that, things are hunky dory.

What we have left is a remnant struggling to keep the flame
alive. The natural heirs to Jesus’ call
are youth workers – they’re the ones who work with the radicals. But how many youth workers are more concerned
with their career than they are with following Jesus’ model of ministry?

I’m not questioning anyone’s commitment to follow Jesus –
most of you reading this love him; I’m just wondering about our commitment to follow
his

model of ministry. It just seems to me that the model we’ve
formulated looks just a tad different than the one Jesus followed. Or maybe I’m too idealistic. Do the rest of
you see this too?

And if you do – what in the world do we do about it? I know a lot of fantastic youth workers who
are working their butts off trying to make disciples who struggle with this
issue. For some, it has become an
intolerable burden they carry. We don’t
have to pass this system on to another generation. We can work together to change it.

Comment

  • I continue gaining encouragement, challenge, and even conviction from reading. Thanks, Seth, for calling us higher than status quo. I wonder if status quo will ever be Jesus’ ideal? I doubt it, this side of heaven, but we must continue pursuing Him and His heart for the lost.
    After 3 months in church ministry, I am continuing to make gains in the arena of calling people to make disciples rather than converts or religious Christians. They’re small steps, but good ones. Actually, so far, I am finding more acceptance amongst the jr. highers and their parents than the high schoolers. Surprising and not, when you consider things like security, the future, and the like. Still, this is a missionary sending church, with the former youth pastor’s oldest son in Brazil right now, and his nephew in Honduras (along with a wife and two babies), so they obviously aren’t content with the status quo as most churches know it. Of this, I’m thankful, and it makes my job much easier.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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