I have had a ton of grow moments in my time here, some of which came with my realization of some of my weaknesses (See post: my weaknesses), some of which is challenging me as a husband and as a father. Mostly God has been poking at my heart, deep down getting to the junk I still hadn’t dealt with.
I knew when God called me to leave Nyack he was going to call me into a team scenario, where my voice wouldn’t be the main voice and I wouldn’t be “in charge”. This is the main reason I declined another churches GREAT offer to be their Middle School Pastor…because there I would’ve been “in charge” of the Middle School ministry with oversight from an Executive Pastor and a semi-team scenario with the High School Pastor, but still my voice would’ve been the main voice of advocacy for the Middle School Ministry, and I would be the main leader for that section of ministry. Here at ACAC I am one of 6 people on the Student Ministry staff and each member has say in each aspect of ministry we do…so my voice is not the most prominent, plus one of the 6 is the “Director of Student Ministries” who is my boss and he is “in charge”, not me. When God was laying this on my heart, I knew it was because I had grown arrogant with my “knowledge of youth ministry” and I had grown prideful needing to be in charge of “my ministry”. God saw this unhealthy pattern in me and sought to force my heart away from seeking this for myself.
I’m not saying had I taken the other position I would be this cocky-thick-headed-monster of a youth pastor, but I would not have the same challenges I face in which God desired me to face. Shortly after moving, I was listening to a sermon based off of 1 Timothy and the preacher said: “If you’re not willing to be #2, you will never be successful in ministry. Timothy was willing to be #2 to Paul and God blessed this. When we always strive to be #1 ministry becomes about us and our goals, not God and his goals”.
That quote smacked me in the gut and was God’s way of saying to me: “This is one of the many reasons I brought you here. You need to learn to be #2, or even #6 for my glory Marvin, because MY ministry is about me and my glory not you and yours!”
I know had I not been here in this situation on this team at this moment I would not have been challenged with these facts. The truth is I am an arrogant jerk who needs to work out his junk. I’ve realized more than ever that I am selfish and try to work things out for my own good.
Seeing my boss (who’s been in ministry almost as long as I’ve been alive) do ministry the way he does it challenges me to my core. He is so self-less and knows so much and NEVER have I experienced a “know it all” attitude from him. He’s a ministry “guru” and isn’t stuck up about it. I’m a ministry “noob” and think I know it all…
This realization has also spilled out into my fathering and husband-ing…I realize I am selfish with every aspect of my life! I write this and you may think I have it all together because I can reflect and write this…but it hurts man! Coming to the realization that I am lazy and selfish is not fun. I am still seeking the “why” to all of this, as in where is the root of my selfishness? What do I need God to break out of me in order to change?
I am OK with being #2 (or #6) now but I still don’t know why I am selfish. I no longer want to take the easier road, what can I do that will bring Christ the most glory, not myself nor making it easiest for me, but what will make Him known?
Taking a new job has proved to be both the hardest and best thing for both Hilary and I because of what He’s doing inside of both of us. There are many more lessons I’ve been learning but this road of my journey is the most recent and indeed the hardest yet travelled. Learning to be #6 and learning the reasons for my selfishness. God loves us just the way we are but he loves us too much to leave us that way…there is so much more work he has for me ( a lifetime even) may I always be ready to learn the lessons he has for me!