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“Who am I to tell you what you need to know when it comes to ministry?”
That’s a voice that I battle when it comes to most things. It’s a voice that challenges whether I have enough significance and value to bestow wisdom onto teenagers, parents and other adults. And I do and I don’t. I’m just a guy who grew up in New Jersey, moved around a little bit before that and God lead me to a church just outside of Baltimore City to serve teens and their families. I’m nothing much, but then I’m a whole lot.
Last night Jon Acuff lead an engaging and powerful session about the voices we hear and how they push us to things like comparison. I love networking with other youth workers; however, find myself victim to the comparing of:
- Who’s ministry is bigger?
- Who’s got more volunteers?
- Who’s got more followers?
- Who’s more successful?
And most times it’s easy to recognize the voice of inner doubt and then sometimes it’s deeper, it’s due to an experience or situation that has hurt us more. It’s easier to listen to the critic and the complainer than the many people who praise. With so many voices it’s hard to find the right ones. But we can by:
- Recognizing Our Fame In God’s Eyes: Jon Acuff reminded us that we are already famous in the eyes of God. That the attention we seek from others is nothing in comparison to that of God’s. When we can remind ourselves that nothing else matters because what we are doing is God’s calling, it can change how we are valued.
- Find Iron Who Will Sharpen You: Accountability is important, but with it you need people who are going to point out the positives we dismiss. Throughout this conference I’ve been encouraging networking; however, if you just need someone who is going to specifically pour into you, visit the SYM Soul Care Shelter (site if you aren’t here). We need people to pray with us, feed us and give us the encouragement to express where we are with our emotions.
- Find Bright Spots And Celebrate Them: It’s okay to boast and brag, it’s okay to find what’s going well in your ministry and share them. The pull is to complain; however, that will just move you down a path of frustration, the key is to find moments and situations where the vision is being met and celebrate them.
- Remember God’s Designing Your Ministry: Another key piece of advice from Jon Acuff was not to compare your beginnings to someone’s middle. If you are starting off in ministry or in a specific area it can be discouraging if you constantly compare yourself to a veteran youth worker of 20 years. It’s hard to compare a ministry in small town Ohio to one in L.A. Just as God has designed you with a specific purpose he has done the same with your ministry. Embrace it’s limits.
As you continue on through the conference battle the voices by meeting others. Go to the Hub, say, “Hi” to those holding the signs, at the kiosks or to anyone walking around. Meet people, connect and grow together. Just battle the voices by finding ones that will build you up and move you forward.
What voices do you struggle with hearing?