Last August I found myself out of youth ministry. And for the first time ever I began to consider not returning to church staff. After a lot of prayer I decided to launch a new ministry. I decided that God had gifted me to be good communicator and that he had given me the freedom to try itinerant speaking. So, in late September, I made it official. I built a website and announced it to the world. At that time I thought a lot about what it would mean to have a successful ministry. I thought about goals I have for how often I should speak. What message I wanted to convey whenever I got the opportunity to speak, how much income I would consider successful, how much I could be absent from my own church and still be a part of that church. I thought seriously through all these questions.
I will confess, though, that I thought very little about what it would mean to be a failure. Maybe because I am just optimistic or maybe because that is a depressing thought and I don’t like thinking through depressing thoughts. Whatever the reason, I had plenty of mental preparation for success and almost none for failure.
My ultimate goal was to earn enough money as an apologetic speaker to begin work on my PhD. This means that I would have to earn enough income to work less hours at my currently very full-time job at the restaurant. I thought it would be possible since a couple of years ago I had a solidly booked calendar of speaking engagements and I was not even attempting to make a go at a ministry at that time.
I named this post “status report” so it’s time for a status report.
I’ll grade my success so far on a scale from 1 – 10. On this scale 1 means “Nobody wants to hear you speak, you are a boring loser. Stop wasting our time.” 10 means “You are the greatest. You should never be in want of somewhere to speak. In fact, you should be turning away invitations from international conferences of interesting speakers”
On this scale I am clearly around a 2, maybe if I’m feeling generous towards myself I’m at a 3.
It seems like the next logical question you should have for me would go something like this…
You’ve been at this for a year and you are only a 2, so why don’t you give up on this and go back to youth ministry?
Clearly I still have a passion for youth ministry. I was depressed all week last week because I was not at youth camp with my church. I am a regular volunteer in the youth group at Edgewood and I enjoy it very much. I believe that I could be quite happy as a youth minister. I was for many years. The short answer is that I believe that God gave me the passion for this ministry. Also I believe that it is a ministry that is badly needed in our churches. So until God either changes my passion or speaks directly to me, I plan to keep at it.
I would love to help you out, how can I do that?
I would appreciate your prayers. I am able to pay all my bills with my other job, it is the family business and there is some fulfillment in working there, but I will admit that the biggest source of discouragement in my life is that I am not successful at this ministry venture. Please invite me to speak in your church, or tell your pastor that you would like to hear me speak. I would love to do a defending the faith weekend, or speak at a d-now, or speak to your WMU. And I’d be happy just to have the opportunity to fill the pulpit in the pastor’s absence. I believe that my greatest path to success is to be heard. I think that when people hear me, they will recommend me to others. Also whenever a speaking engagement comes my way, it offers weeks of encouragement. That is worth much more than the income it provides.
Another brief status report: back in the winter I began writing a book. I had the idea that I might sell said book when I had speaking engagements. I wrote approximately 20% of it. I have not written a single word on that book for over 2 months. So I’d give that one a 2
A serious question - I could combine two of my passions if I were able to be a youth camp pastor for a week. I think it would be great fun. Does anybody know what the process is for becoming a Fuge or Student Life camp pastor?