My senior pastor Ted is an amazing leader. He’s been a faithful shepherd and preacher at our church for over 30 years. A year and a half ago he decided that he would up his game and start meeting with a few others to sharpen his preaching skills. This is a man who has preached over 1,300 sermons…1,300. As a man in his 60’s he said “I have yet to preach my best sermon.”
My pastor’s example lit a fire under me. I’ve been in middle school ministry for 15 years and I can be tempted to believe that I have it all figured out. I could rest on my experience and believe that there’s not much left to learn. I could believe those things, but I would be wrong. Ted’s humility inspires me to believe that I have not arrived. I am still a work in progress. The older I get the more I realize that I have so far to go. This thought doesn’t leave me defeated it fuels my fire to learn and hone my skills.
I get older and I get complacent
Ted has every right to sit back and say, “I’ve reached my peak.” No one would blame him for preaching sermons the same way that he’s been doing for years. He’s earned it, right? Wrong. Ted understands that ministry isn’t a destination that you arrive at. The moment you stop growing and learning is the moment your effectiveness diminishes. All of the great thinkers and practitioners in Christian leadership grew better as they got older because they never stopped learning and growing in their skills.
I get older and I get defeated
There are days when I don’t feel as relevant as I once did. There are days when I wish I knew all of the current bands and played all of the new video games. My ability to be on top of the culture must have been connected to my full head of hair because both are long gone. There are days where I feel out of touch and because of that I believe that I am no longer as effective in student ministry. What Ted has taught me is that I can be confident that my relevance is not connected with my effectiveness in ministry. Ted isn’t culturally savvy, but he is a great pastor. His longevity has produced wisdom, character and strength that isn’t present when you’re young.
In the same way, my age in student ministry isn’t a liability. It’s an asset. I don’t know the latest bands, but I can relate to parents a lot better. I may not be as cool as I used to be, but I’m more comfortable in my own skin. Because of these things I can see the horizon and know that my best days are yet to come.
Having a desire for continued growth keeps me from being complacent. Having an appreciation for my age allows me to see that my time is not done. My best days of ministry are not behind me.
In a seminar talking to veteran (read: old) middle school pastors, Scott Rubin and Kurt Johnson said that your best age of ministry is whatever season you are in right now. They meant that it is important to always look at the relative advantages of the season of ministry you are in. In other words there are no “glory days” of the past. The glory days are ahead of you if you keep growing and learning.
Fill in the blank “I have yet to do my best ____________!“ Is it a lesson, event, training or idea? Fill in your blank and then pursue excellence in it for God’s glory and His kingdom.
Stay humble, stay hungry, stay hopeful. Your best years of ministry are ahead of you. I know mine are.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.theyouthministryblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/LibickHawaiiChristmasPhoto.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]Kevin Libick is a Middle School Pastor living in Fort Worth, TX with his wife Kara and her two cats. He is a novice banjo picker and expert Hawaiian food eater. Kevin loves to connect with other youth workers and equip them to live out their calling in God’s Kingdom. Connect with Kevin on Twitter: @kevinlibick[/author_info] [/author]