“…Do not say ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” – Jeremiah 4: 7-8
I’m going to be quite blunt…following God is scary, hard, and it can even seem humiliating. I’m 27, don’t have a degree (of any kind not just seminary), and I have a tendency to be the person that says what everyone else thinks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m 3 math credits short of my Network Administration degree. God was very clear to me that I should not finish it so that I would see Him working in my life and not mistake Him for my own success. I also have 10 years ministry experience, training, and study. To put it in a way gamers would understand, I’m not a noob when it comes to ministry.
Today I had lunch with a friend of mine. He’s got a few years on me, and will probably retire in 10 years or so. We had the interesting conversation about the potential issues that we each have either had or are having while being looked at by churches. He’s to the age where many churches look over him because he’s too close to retirement. He’s not looking for a church currently, but if God called him somewhere else God’s hand would have to be there for it to happen. I’m young and don’t have the magical piece of paper that declares one’s worth.
I’ve been putting out resumes and it just amazes me how many >200 people churches are requiring an MDiv and 10 years experience for them to even accept a resume. I’m not saying that smaller churches don’t deserve a great leader and pastor, but I am saying that too many churches are relying on their expectations instead of leaning on God to provide.
God doesn’t care how old you are, nor how young you are. He’s willing to use you if you’re willing to be used.
Shannon and I are still waiting and praying over several churches and organizations. I know from experience to expect several “thanks but we found someone that fits our needs better” letters from churches that didn’t interview me and probably haven’t interviewed anybody yet. The pat response from people is “God has something else for you, don’t worry. If God wants it for you then it’ll happen.” But that there begs the question of where God’s divine will ends and free will begins. Can people choose to have their way and ignore God’s will?
Now I firmly believe that if God says that it will happen, then it will happen. But God wants everyone to accept Him and be in Heaven. This is His desire. Paul tells us this in 1 Timothy.
But Hell is real…and souls will be there for eternity. If God wants everyone to know Him and accept Him, why are some people going to hell. It’s simple…free will. People sometimes choose to not accept Christ. Now there’s the argument “if we have the choice or not” and “if the potter has just made some pots for the fire” (Romans 9:21)? But even the Calvinists that I follow and read say that we need to make the choice.
Without wanting to open this can-of-worms too much, my points with this off shoot is that we need to not worry about if we get a position or not. It’s really not even important if people cause you to not get the position or if it wasn’t God’s will. What’s really important is following God and never giving up. Don’t be ashamed to follow God’s call in your life. It might seem mediocre, belittling, or just plain unimportant; but if we are truly the body of Christ then we all have a part to play. Not everyone gets to be the mouth, or the hands, or the feet. Every body needs a kidney, a gallbladder, and a pancreas. It might not be visible, and most people forget that they’re even there; but without them the body would fail.
Work for Christ where you are with passion. If He calls you somewhere else, then find it with vigor and peruse God’s will with never ending desire. Don’t give up, God isn’t giving up on you. If you have accepted Christ and have the gift of the Holy Spirit, then your name is in the Book of Life. Act like it matters.