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    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    Life's Lessons (A Youth Pastor Confession)

    I had one of those conversations yesterday that suck. It stunk because I knew what the other person was saying was true. I was given some insight into some of my failings as a Youth Pastor, and the heart of what was said was dead right.

    I'm a gifted preacher/teacher, so what happens with that is I am always trying to be heard. I want my sermons to be listened to and I rarely seek interaction from my crowd. I like the sound of my own voice so much that I neglect the needs of people to interact with what I'm teaching. Now, the conversation wasn't this frank but this is what I took from it. What was said was: "You continue to have people watch you do what you think you are good at". The person wasn't trying to be mean, in fact it was quite the opposite, he was attempting to point out that I may think I'm the best Youth preacher ever...but I'm not. He was saying that I need to delegate more, get kids involved with my lessons more and have others teach so I can watch them do something they're good at.

    I confess this over a blog, Facebook and the rest of the Internet because I desire to repent. I want to be the best Youth Pastor, leader, shepherd I can be...which means I have to learn to delegate and take correction. A true leader can't continue to lead without correction. I can't always be Midas with the Golden Touch...sometimes I am Icarus with the wings made of wax. He made wings so he could fly to the sun. He was successful in making the wings, and they even let him fly...but they were wax. So when he got too close to the sun, the wings melted and he fell. Sometimes our wings are wax...that means we need to learn from our "falling out of the sky" times so we can fly higher. That is true leadership. Set of wings after set of wings, constantly flying and falling so God can make us better.

    This is not easy for me. I hate being told I'm wrong. I hate introspection about something I'm not doing right. Most of all, I hate being real and honest about my failures, because I like people to think of me as some super amazing Youth Pastor guy who does nothing wrong. Well, let me tell you now: if you think that, I'm sorry but I'm NOT that guy.

    I want to be teachable, learn able and usable. These are the kinds of people God uses. Look at the men in the Bible: Moses, David, Paul, Peter (and TONS more). All were amazing leaders...but they had their wings melt. God used Jethro to convict Moses of his poor delegation skills, telling him he'd never be able to continue doing what he was doing at the rate in which he was doing it. David had Nathan convict him of his hidden sin and David, a man after God's own Heart had his wings melt! Paul had Jesus blind him and tell him he was wrong in His theology. Peter had Jesus smack him upside the head more than once. He told him "Get behind me Satan" once even! However, all these men corrected their mistakes, learned from the "falling out of the sky" moment, got back up and flew higher.

    Ministry is tough. Ministry is challenging and we'll never be Superman. I'm learning this, I think we all should. It's OK to fall out of the sky. It's OK to have our wings melt. We all must respond how God's men did...learn, change and fly again!


    Lauren said...

    This is so honest, Marvin, I admire your determination and courage. You show a lot of humility here, and I'm glad that you feel that you can be vulnerable about your shortcomings. That's something I struggle with a lot, I know. I'm sure you're an amazing youth pastor--heck! you already were when we were in high school!
    Lauren Urbanek McReynolds

    Marv Nelson said...

    Thanks Lauren!