ADVICE FOR YOUNG PASTORS & LEADERS: “Don’t neglect caring for your own soul before you care for other souls.” Young ministry leader Tyler Saldaña gives some advice to other young ministry leaders.
A ‘GOSPEL’ THAT ALMOST KILLED ME: “The white-knuckled discipline that I once devoted to the prosperity gospel, I now devote to trusting fully in the finished work of Christ and the grace that I breathe in to survive.” Sean DeMars gives an account of his live when he was devoted to the ‘prosperity gospel’ and how his eyes were opened to the true gospel.
4 WAYS TO MINISTER TO US ‘YOUNG GUNS’: “Many young guys have big hearts and legitimate ambition for the kingdom of God. The church of the future will be far better served if young men are guided and shepherded by more seasoned saints.” John Pond explains four ways older men can mentor younger men in the ministry.
REWRITING OLD HYMNS FOR A NEW GENERATION: “While the text has and will stand the test of time, the melody lost that fight long ago.” Dustin Kensrue shares some reasons and tips for rewriting hymns.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR MISSIONARIES ACTUALLY TEACH?: “Stop sending prosperity-preaching missionaries to the jungles of Peru. They’re killing the villages here. Your missionaries are spending tens of thousands of dollars, traveling across land and sea, invading and settling into new cultures, and it’s all for nothing. They’re doing more harm than good.” This is a very important post that all Christians need to read – especially if they support missionaries, are missionaries, or plan to be missionaries. Sean DeMars talks about how the American Church is exporting the prosperity gospel into places like Peru (where he serves) through missionaries. He challenges us to know what our missionaries believe before we support or send them.
WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH: “[True worship] is both an affair of the heart and an affair of the mind.” David Mathis discusses what it means to worship in spirit and truth.
WHEN YOUR HEART ISN’T IN IT: “You might find yourself sitting in darkness and uninterested in God’s word, prayer, or worship. But do not neglect these things, for no matter how feeble your faith is at the moment, God will strengthen and enlarge it.” Joe Thorn challenges us to seek the Lord even when our heart just isn’t in it.
THE LIFE-RATTLING TRUTH THAT HAS KEPT ME IN AFRICA: “Paying mere mental assent to a doctrine is quite different than having that doctrine shape your thinking and ultimately your decisions.” Philip Hunt explains how practically experiencing the sovereignty of God has kept him in Africa for 20+ years.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF TWITTER: Kevin DeYoung shares some hilarious, but great points about what we should and shouldn’t do on Twitter.
THREE CHALLENGES FOR THE CHRISTIAN BLOGOSPHERE: “We need to be less about whatever bonehead move Celebrity Pastor X made this week and more about the gospel.” Aaron Armstrong challenges Christian bloggers with three things he would like to see change this year in the blogosphere.
It’s sinful for you to want to be someone other than who you are. It’s an ungrateful, wicked heart that doesn’t just run the race marked out for [you]. Run the race marked out for you. That you would grow comfortable with who God has asked you to be, who he has made you to be. Learn from men of God, but don’t try to be them – be you.
– Matt Chandler
If you haven’t already, read Part 1.
God called me into ministry leadership. This terrified me. For a long time after I surrendered to ministry, I would be bound by fear – fear that I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t do the task at hand, that I didn’t know enough, that God could never use someone like me. O how true this is if it isn’t for God’s grace in my life! There is no way I could do this if not controlled by the Spirit.
I began getting involved in ministry. I figured youth ministry was what God wanted me to do since I had a passion for young people my age. I’ve recently learned that isn’t the right direction. Many people have told me that I should be a pastor – again, not the right direction. I believe God has definitely called me to ministry leadership, but I have no idea exactly how that looks, as of now, in my life. I do know one thing – he has given me a burden in two areas: missions and discipleship.
This brings me to last summer. I went to downtown Phoenix, Arizona as a summer missionary at Church on Fillmore through the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board. While there, I was involved in inner-city ministry. I started to learn much more about ministry as we created relationships with kids, homeless, and other people from all walks of life. It is during this summer that the gospel fully clicked for me. Don’t get me wrong – I knew what the gospel was for the most part, but it fully clicked last summer. I was overwhelmed by the reality of the gospel of grace. There is much I could say about my summer there, but I’ll move on.
All throughout last year – my senior year – the gospel fueled me. Any of my friends would tell you that I talked about it all the time (and still do). As I mentioned yesterday, graduation was right around the corner, and I was terrified. I thought to myself – what’s next? People would ask me what I was doing after graduation. My answer? I have no idea. And then, through several situations, God reminded of Proverbs 16:9 and Proverbs 19:21. We plan, but God establishes our steps. It is His purpose that will stand. Again, this is something that I knew, but didn’t really grasp. God is sovereign. He knows what he’s doing, especially when I don’t. All the fear and worry – gone.
And this is where my current season comes into play. I had no idea that I would return to Church on Fillmore for a second summer until the application process began. I knew God was leading me back to Phoenix. This summer in Phoenix was extremely difficult at times, but very rewarding. It was great to see some of the kids start asking questions about the gospel and why Jesus did what He did. The summer began to come to an end and God led me to begin the process of returning to Phoenix for a year as a missionary. After discussions with my missions coordinators in Mississippi and Arizona, I began the process. The church accepted my request and an application was filled out and sent into NAMB. I left Phoenix on August 2nd with an estimated date of re-arrival around the beginning of September.
It’s almost a month later and I’m still in Alabama. A friend sent me a text one day recently and asked if I had heard any news on the Phoenix front. I answered that I had not. And I was asked this – “Real talk. How are you doing with that?” No one had asked me that. I hadn’t thought about it. Obviously I’m eager to return. When you know where you’re supposed to be in the next season of your life, you want to be there. As I began to think about it, though, I saw that I was not anxious (despite the eagerness).
I know God will bring this to pass in his timing, not mine. It had actually surprised me to know that I’m not upset or worried about it. Even if it’s another month from now, I am trusting Him because His purpose will stand. I’m thankful that my friend asked me that hard question. After this year in Phoenix, I have no idea what will be next. I do know one thing – God is sovereign. I have learned to trust Him regardless of the circumstances at hand. And I have experienced such great growth in these seasons of change.
Thanks for reading. I hope that you are encouraged by the peek into my life during these recent seasons of change.
- Have you had a season of change in your life recently that God used to teach you? If so, I would love for you to share.
Almost half a year ago I wrote a post titled “Seasons of Waiting” in which I reflected upon what God was teaching me during that current season. I learned how to trust God in the unknown, in the waiting, in the doubt. Just as the weather changes during seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – so our lives change during similar seasons – loss, doubt, shame, growth, etc. I haven’t really talked to anyone about where I am currently in this season of change, so I’d thought I’d blog about it. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy.
Let me start at the beginning.
When I wrote the previously mentioned post on waiting, I was in my final semester of my senior year in college. All throughout college, things had changed – career paths, friends, jobs, interests, beliefs, etc. Graduation was now right around the corner. I was very excited that I would soon be moving forward in my life.
Yet, at the same time, I was terrified.
We are asked one question over and over again since our childhood – what do you want to be when you grow up? That question carries over into our adulthood as well. In college, our teachers and classmates ask questions such as: What do you want to do with your life? Where do see yourself in five years?
As a child, I would have quickly informed people that I wanted to be a police officer. Don’t ask me why, because I couldn’t tell you. I was just so enthralled by men and women who captured “the bad guys.” Yet, as time progressed and I got older, that interest grew dimmer. I was still very fascinated with fighting crime and catching the bad guys, but I no longer wanted to do that as a career.
Then, as I proceeded into college, my focus soon changed to teaching. I wanted to invest into teenagers’ lives as I taught them and gave them hope for the future, regardless of their past or present circumstances. That changed as well. I still have the desire to invest into teenagers’ lives, but not in that field.
Now, God has called me into ministry leadership. This terrified me in the beginning. For a long time after I surrendered to ministry, I was bound by fear.
Check back tomorrow to read the second half of the post that describes my current season of change.
- How have your career paths changed over the course of time?
- Are you currently in a season of waiting or change? If so, what is God teaching you?