I had lunch this week with a former youth minister. Where he served is irrelevant (he's not from CF). However, he was burned by ministry. There was a changing of the guard. He had new bosses with new ideas. Those new ideas didn't sit well with many of the members. Words were said. People left. Funny thing is, as I describe this one situation, I can think of many churches that have gone through the same thing. He was locked into what he thought ministry was supposed to be and couldn't change. Thankfully, instead of burning bridges he left quietly. Prayerfully the ministry will grow in his absence.
I hate to see that. I've been frustrated by ministry. I've been burned. Sadly, more than once. There have been times where I'd rather flip burgers at McDs than serve on a church staff. I think what happens is that people spend more time focusing on their vision for what God would have for the church instead of what God has in place for the church. Pride is at the core of many of these issues... at least it was in mine.
Healing is difficult. You go through so many emotions.
Why is God doing this to me?
Am I being punished?
There's no way this will work!
I know I'm following God's Will. I don't know what they're doing...
An incredible thing happens when you let go. You get to see God in the chaos. What seemed to be an abomination turns out to be God moving. I realized that if I spent as much time seeking God as I did being bitter, I could have accomplished so much more for the Kingdom. More than that, my anger towards the situation was preventing me from finding God, and the situation was literally preventing me from having a viable relationship with God.
When it really sank in for me was when I read George Barna's Revolution. It is quite the controversial book dealing with finding God outside of the church (not exactly something the current church wants to think about) but it remindind me of a simple fact.
When I die, God is not going to hold "the church" accountable for my life. God will be holding me accountable. Therefore I have no excuses.... Not exactly earth-shattering news, but definitely something I needed to hear again.
If you've been burned in the past, ask God to heal you, to break you of your pride, and stay focused on hearing God, not on the frustrations of ministry. I think you'll find that when you stay focused on Him, the problems of the world become fewer and far less significant. The incredible thing about God breaking you is that then He gets to go Humpty Dumpty on you and put you back together again!
God, thank you for the opportunities you've given. Thank you for the successes and the times you've let me fall flat on my face. Thank you for picking up the pieces and reassembling me into the person you would have me to be.