ego driven...

A few days ago, I came home to my wife (after my two hour drive) and I asked her where the mail was. She showed me the mail, and I had a letter in the mail from the "Cambridge Who's Who of America" company. I have heard of these things before, and I was pretty excited about the possibility of being chosen for this. Of course, I did no research on the company because I thought it was legitimate. I had a friend who graduated with a "Who's Who" honor from college. This is what peeked my interest.

I opened up the letter, read the information. I went onto the website, and filled out some online form. (AT THIS POINT THERE WAS NO MONEY EXCHANGED). I thought this was a huge honor. A way to show how I have earned an accomplishment of sorts.

This morning, Thursday April 14, I got a call from New York. I did not recognize the number, so I didn't answer. SOMEHOW this company got my work number, and was sent through to my office. I did a phone interview, and was told I was accepted. I was told I would get a plaque to hang on my wall. I was very excited. I have never been honored by anything before. Then came the drop. If I wanted to join, it would only cost me $759.00! WHAT?!?! I said no thanks I can't afford that. They lowered the price down to $99.00. I said I don't have a credit card (which was a lie) and the woman told me to find a credit card. Maybe someone would loan me the money. At this point, I said NO THANK YOU, and she said to me (verbatim), "Well you will miss out on a great opportunity and SCREW YOU!" She slammed the phone down and all I heard was a dial tone.

I did some research. These people are OBVIOUSLY scammers! How could I fall for something like this? I feel like such an idiot. Then I began thinking how I had an ego for a short amount of time. I thought I was being honored, how I could hang a plaque on my wall, I was excited to be recognized for my great work in the field of youth ministry. Then I thought, well, have I really done that much?

Sometimes our programs, as youth ministers, can be smoke and mirrors. All show and no substance. Am I really making a difference in the lives of my students. I have been in paid ministry for 5 years. I don't even know if I am out of the baby pool yet to make a big splash. However, that's not my goal. My goal is to serve God and make the best of this opportunity I have RIGHT NOW. I am not looking to write a book, be a big speaker, or become nationally recognized in the youth ministry world. At one time I wanted to. I just don't think I could handle it. My wife probably would leave me too, since I would NEVER be home!

Do any other youth ministers struggle with this? We have such big ideas and want to share them, but we aren't sure. We want to be big names and do something so great we get nothing but recognition? My recognition should come from God. I am striving to be the best I can through Him, but I fail and have a sense of vanity from time to time.

The point of this blog was to say that we can have smoke and mirror ministries all day, and leave it for nothing in the end result. We can fake ministry really easily. So, now I am curious; do any other youth pastors struggle with this?

Comment below and let's get some good discussion about this!


danielgriswold said...

I just went back to a youth ministry I worked in for four years. Sometimes you do wonder what is happening when you are in the work. But when you return and see the same kids prospering and doing God's work, and tearing up because they care about someone who needs to get on the straight and narrow - well - then you know that there has been an impact. Don't ever get an ego about what you're doing - but know that God is using you to do what God wants you to do right now. You belong to God ;)

i am said...

man, I can totally relate.. had this mentality & struggle my first 3 years in youth ministry. How arrogant and smug, I use to be to foolishly try to boost my own ego. Oh the joy, when we realize it will get us nowhere!!! I consider this apart of the Martha mentality... so DANGEROUS for us leaders.

I worry far less about this as I process as a leader and seek to desire God more. Wrote a couple blogs about some of this last summer.

Keep blogging, Mark!!! Can't wait for your guest post for my blog this week.

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