This is my 10th post, in a series of 12, where I use Jeff Goins book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, to convince and inspire you, the local youth worker, that you are an artist.
This particular chapter deals with artists who give away too much of their art or do not recognize the worth of their work or realize too late.
The church does not own you or your God given abilities. You are loaning them to a particular Body for a season (or several seasons). I want you to be a smart artist who recognizes what you can do, not in prideful way but a discerning way, otherwise, like many other jobs, your talents will be abused or worse, forsaken.
The church, in it’s call and design, is meant to be the hands and feet of Jesus, in the carnal, most church are autonomous organizations that define themselves how they want, feeling their way in the dark, and doing their best in light of God’s word.
This chapter of Jeff’s book deals with artists who wished they had recognized that their gifts and talents were being misspent and the artist himself held back from being all they could be. Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers was such an Artist (band) and this is what he said after he discovered that the record company had done him wrong.
And when you trust the system fully, there may come a time when the system no longer needs you. “I wish I’d had a mentor,” he told me. “I never picked up on the fact that if you want to get somewhere, look at where you’re trying to get and start by studying the people who’ve gotten where you want to go.”
This is true when we do not take ownership (being good stewards) of what God has given us.
Sadly many youth workers, maybe even you, have told themselves that it was God’s will that you’re supposed to be at the church you’re at, even if it’s toxic. I disagree. This is where the youth pastor job is just a job. There is call, but you have choices as to where you want to serve without the fear of God’s wrath coming down upon your head.
This is where a ‘church” is like any other organization. The church is far from perfect and often reflects any other “business” with terrible bosses, underpaid staff, and terrible working conditions and we chalk it up to God’s will. I disagree. I do not believe it is God’s will to be miserable when we have a choice not to be.
We have to own our faith and talent, like a musician should own their songs, and decide what is acceptable and what is not, otherwise the system will dictate that for you.
Owning your faith means you don’t drink the Kool Aid everyone is feeding you. It means, when the orderlies come with your meds you hide them in the back of you mouth between check and gum in stead of swallowing it. It means thinking for yourself, being clear headed and discerning. Newsflash: Your Pastor, board, deacons, elders, are not always right and it’s ok to disagree.
If you continue to go along and believe that it’s Gods will that you should suffer under terrible,
out of context preaching
awful communication skills
a lack of vision for the community in which you live
a laychsidaiscial, satisfied, way of how God’s business get done, then you will look up one day ,like Stephen Kellogg, and discover that you gave away a good many years to a system that could have cared less wether you
became your best
were emotionally/mentally/spiritually healthy
were prepared for the future (professionally/spiritually/or financially)
The “system” will alway carry on, while many youth workers limp away or worse, decay within that system.
I know this sounds like a dire warning, and maybe it is. You are a believer in Christ who loves young people and most of you are like the prophets of old, filled with fire and gasoline to burn, as described by Hebrews
They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were put to death by the sword. They went around in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, oppressed, and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and hid in caves andholes in the ground.These were all commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised.…
Many of the churches and organizations you work for are not worthy of your God given talent. They waste it, abuse, ignore it rather than nurture it and give it opportunity to flourish.
Taking ownership of your faith means not casting off your responsibility to
- feed yourself from God’s word than take what is said from the pulpit as gospel truth.
- to better yourself by reading books, listening to podcasts., watching videos, etc. from various disciplines.
- to look for opportunities, outside the church, that will allow you to shine the way God made you to shine
I can’t tell you whether you should leave your church or not, that’s between you and God, but I would ask that you prayerfully (not pridefully) consider the gifts God has given you and ask yourself, “Am I being used for God’s glory or just being used?”
Tenth post in this series: 9 Ways You Should Be Preparing For A Life After Youth Ministry
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