This morning I want to tell you the story ofhow I ended up in youth ministry. Following my return from Galena, AK and our return from Adams State College to La Junta, due to Christine's preganancy, we decided to find a church to attend. Of course we started with First Presbyterian Church because that was the church attended. However, the interim pastor who was there was a little to heady for a brand new Christian like myself. Granted, I had been growing in my faith for over a year yet when I was unable to understand the children's sermon I knew that perhaps there might be another church for me. We searched every Sunday like prospective house hunters. Now, being a pastor of a church myself, I find it comical how we moved from church to church trying to find that one "Godly morsel" that would satisfy our spiritual hunger. I say this because I now know that it isn't just one thing that makes a church feel right. Yet, God would place one individual in my path on my journey home.
After seeking a church home for, well I don't remember how long, we heard that First Presbyterian was calling a new pastor and we wanted to hear him preach. His name was Charlie Little and we immediately liked what we heard and saw. To get to the meat of the story I'll tell you that we started attending regularly and, after some months, we found Charlie sitting on our couch. He had come to speak with us about the church and where we saw ourselves in it's ministry. Three brain surgeries and two decades stand in the way of me remembering exactly why I said the words but I said them, "I think I would like to be a part of youth ministry"!
Of course having been a pastor for almost 10 years now I totally understand why I felt that Charlie's eyes twinkled when I said that. Understand youth ministry is not for everyone just as teaching is not for everyone. No doubt God provides gifts for youth ministry and, if you are really lucky, He will provided the courage as well. Well, those words were music to Charlie's ears and he suggested that I give a youth meeting a try. I agreed!
That first meeting was very enjoyable. I watched Charlie interact and teach the youth of our church and I began to think that this might be something I might be able to grow into. What I didn't know was that Charlie had other plans for me. I believe that there are ministires that God just calls you to. You know, those ministies that are just perfect for you and it really doesn't take much to get it off the ground. From experience I can tell you that youth ministries is not that type of ministry. Unfortunately, or fortunately, Charlie didn't agree. I can remember, although not in great detail, our conversation going something like this. "Well, how did you like it?" asked Charlie."I thought it was great" replied Derek. "Super, " exclaimed Charlie, "let me know if you need anything!"
I am sure that it was not that sudden, however, I can remember getting the sense that Charlie was throwing me under the bus! Of course Charlie didn't really hang me out to dry in the middle of these senior high youth but it felt that way. Charlie was always a great teacher and mentor for me and I appreciate the opportunity he provided for me. Nevertheless, there I was only a few years into my faith leading the youth group of the First Presbyterian Church of La Junta, CO.
My point to this story is that I found out at a very early age that God does indeed equip us for ministry. He wants us to play an active part in the sharing of His great and wonderful story. Perhaps yur gifts aren't suited to youth ministry, very few are! Yet, God has gifted you to do ministry. One te great beliefs of my reformed faith is that there is a priesthood of all believers. That means that each one of us are equipped and gifted to minister to others. What about you? Do you have a talent for listening to thers? Do you find yourself being very comfortable visiting those who are sick? Do you have a gift for administration or a servant's heart in the church kitchen? If so my repsonse to you would be, "Great!, let me know if you need anything!".
You see, so many Christians live their lives in the shadow of other ministries. Be it a fear that what they have to provide is not good enough or the fact that they don't think they have a responsibility in the body of Christ. I believe that God wants us to step out in faith and minister. You don't have to be a "minister" to minister. Scripture tells us that the body of Christ is made up of many different members and you are one of them. So, find out what yu can do in the body of Christ to glorify God...and then do it! Give it some prayer and then...Jump Right In!
Blessings to you and your failies this day,