This last week I was reading in the book of Acts for my devotions. And I was taken back by this story.
Acts 13.2-4 | “One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said ‘Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them. So after more prayer and fasting, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. So Paul and Barnabas were SENT, by the Holy Spirit.”
Here we get the story of how Paul and Barnabas are sent on this first missionary journey sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ and it ends with this description that the Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas.
I love this idea of being SENT.
There is something special about the way we live life and the way we go after people when it is not just about passion; it is about calling.
Often, we make decisions about where we are going to give our lives for reasons that are not CALLING.
Whether that be finances, perceived opportunity, a city that we desire to live in, opportunity to speak, etc.…
If God has called you to it, then it is EXACTLY what you are supposed to be spending your life doing.
But I think that way too often calling is the lowest priority when it comes to the decisions that we make.
I don’t know if it is just the way that I am wired.
I don’t know if it is the Church I was raised in and learned ministry from.
I don’t know if it is the fact that I grew up in a part of the country that is mostly unchurched and it is rare to meet people that work full time at a church.
But I have always been more passionate about what I am a part of, than the role that I have.
Here are some things I have learned when it comes to GOING VS BEING SENT:
1 | When we GO, it depends on our strength and resolve. When I am SENT, I tap into something greater.
I don’t care if it’s after the first week or after the first year, there is always a day of reckoning for your calling as a youth pastor. It’s one of those weeks where nothing went right. One of those weeks that your senior pastor said no to the brilliant idea you had. One of those weeks that attendance was down and you are mad because of it.
Through whatever is happening, calling reminds me that regardless of the way it looks, this is what God has called me to do.
2 | When I GO opposition looks deadly. When I am SENT, it is nothing but a healthy reminder I am on the right track.
It is way too easy when you are a youth pastor to see the normal setbacks of building a youth ministry, as the end of the world.
The truth is, these things are not deadly.
They are the normal reminder that the enemy is not just going to give you the city you are trying to reach.
Calling reminds me that God is in control, and the tactics of the enemy against my life, and my ministry will not prevail.
3 | When I GO, the situation has to be perfect. When I am SENT, pretty much anything will do.
Our doubt and fears can talk us right out of our destiny, whether they are truth or lies.
I have caught myself being sidelined by the most minuscule of details and reasons why I shouldn’t take a step forward.
But some of the best things we have done in our Church have come without the perfect situation, budget, leaders, etc.
Calling reminds me that I will never have the perfect set of circumstances, but when people’s souls are on the line, it is always worth us stepping out.
4 | When I GO, arrogance comes easy. When I am SENT, it’s not about me.
Success can be the biggest test for what we are building. I have found that it is easier to take credit for what is happening when the beginnings were an idea that I came up with on my own and without people speaking into it.
The truth is that in the business of building the Church, no one is a lone ranger.
Calling reminds me that everything I have built is because Jesus graced me to do it, not because of my hard work and talent.
5 | When I GO I set a timeline. When I am SENT, I live in the moment.
I think that one of the best things you and I can do to build our youth ministry is throw away our “American Five Year Plan.”
I remember being in Bible College and hearing my peers talk about the approximate five years they would spend in youth, three years as an executive pastor, and then the Senior Pastor job they receive.
This business-like approach to something holy and timeless as the Kingdom of God made no sense to me!
What would it look like in your life and your youth ministry right now, if you decided you were going to stay where you are at until you heard differently from God?
We would probably find ourselves more committed, passionate, and full of joy than ever before!
Most youth pastors are visionary thinkers. We have to be. We are creating something that usually only we can see.
There is nothing wrong with having a vision for your future, but we have to make sure it is GOD’S vision for our future, not ours.
Calling reminds me that God is entirely in control of my future. His hand is on my life, and His timing is perfect.
Grace City Church