I realized something today. I realized why I failed as a Youth Pastor. Here is the short answer: I didn’t make well-informed decisions. This is only mostly true. Sometimes I did spend time in prayer, and asked people advice. However, I can distinctly remember as I planned out the years calendar, that I just wrote down events, and themes that seemed to make sense. I very rarely listened to the Holy Spirit. If a decision was tough I would pray, and consult my professors and mentors for their input. However, I very rarely if ever, let God guide the ministry. Why? Because I wasn’t as connected to God as I should be. This is a 50/50 problem. Here is what I mean by that. This is 50% my fault, and 50% the fault of the church.
It is my responsibility to make sure that I am maintaining my own relationship with God. I was challenged by a Sr. Pastor I worked for to be more self-disciplined, wake up earlier and connect with God early. To get to work early, work hard, and listen to God. I attempted to do this, for a week. The advice was good, I just thought I knew better. However, from the church’s side. Often they say we are paying you for FT work, which is 40 hours a week. But we really expect 50-55 hours, or something like that. The idea is that the local church expects their workers to work so hard that they have little time for everything else. This is unrealistic. My belief is if you want them to put in for 50 hours, pay them for 50 hours a week, not 40 and expect more. The church expects one to put in so much work, that the worker sometimes finds it hard to find time to connect with God, to pray for guidance, to maintain their own spiritual life.
Why did I fail as a Youth Pastor? I chose to neglect God in my ministry and life! I may want to blame the church, and I made an argument that they may in fact be partially to blame. But it’s my fault. What do I do now? I learn, God is the most important aspect of my life! How will I apply what I learn? Well shooting from the hip: I will probably never seek a full-time church job again. A part-time position for sure, but to me a full-time position tries to squeeze God out of my life, it’s not intentional by anyone, it’s just what happens to me. Anyway, the real application for me is: I will always put God first in my day, everyday, regardless!