I've recently been challenged on what it means to be a "leader" in ministry. Now, I have no doubts that God is calling me to the college/20-somethings age group, but I really didn't have a very strong idea about what leadership should look like, especially in that group. It's hard to discern sometimes because just starting in ministry I kind of fumble over myself at times. And hanging with college age adults is quite different than 1st - 5th grade kids.
If you know me or have read any of my blogs, you've probably figured out that I'm a bit of a talker. I actually had a counselor tell me that I talk a lot...isn't that the point in counseling??? With that said, my new found desire to intimately know and build a relationship with my Lord has only served to enhance that trait. So I talk way more than I used to. Not that I think I have a whole lot of profound wisdom to share, on the contrary, I have been trying to learn as much as possible and I feel like I have to share all this new stuff. I feel like I am learning all this new stuff that no one else knows and I have to get it out. Part of it may also be that I keep trying to rush God's plan for me. It's not that I don't think he can handle it, I fully know he can, but I am just too excited sometimes to resist pressing forward.
Regardless of all that, I was able to talk with a friend recently about what that "leader" role really means in the beginning of dedicating yourself to a ministry. What it comes down to is...being quiet. Not a virtue I hold close at all. The bottom line is most people, especially the college age group, are not looking for answers. Most people just want someone to listen, understand and love them. They want your ear and your time, that's it. That is what will build that relationship/connection. Then that will develop into respect and trust, then it's real. At that point they don't come to you for guidance out of obligation because you're "their pastor", they come to you because you're their friend and because you love them.
The biggest thing I was able to take away from our conversation (which I already knew, but need to be reminded) was that I'm still learning too. I was able to talk with another friend recently that is actually considerably younger than I. Now, with my impending divorce, it's no secret that I'll be single again and I have thought a lot about different scenarios that come with that territory. It's probably worth mentioning, if for nothing more than an accountability thing, that I fully intend to remain pure until I find the woman that God has for me and I'm married to her. I want to be fully consumed by Christ and have that relationship right, before I even attempt another Earthly one. That's one of those issues that I've gone over, it was a difficult decision, but one that I'd make all over again. But I digress, the point is I'll be single soon. This friend of mine is dealing with some of the same scenarios that I already assumed I'll deal with. Let me just say how super awesome he's handling those issues. Not only did he teach me a thing or two, but I was just awed in admiration for his dedication to following Christ. I want to be like that.
The wrap up is this: Leadership is Love and Love is Christ, they go hand in hand. People don't need or want answers, they want your time. I am learning a ton, still have tons to go and I'm loving it. I've said it before, but I'll keep saying it a million times - I love having the group of friends and family that I do. They keep me accountable, they're there when they're needed, they care and they're kinda fun to hang out with. I'm truly blessed and constantly amazed by His goodness.
Blessed and Amazed,