• I won’t be able to see what God is doing through me.
  • I will feel alone in ministry. No one will have my back.
  • I will be overworked.
  • I will feel like I don’t work hard enough or good enough or don’t know how to design a ministry that reaches enough students.
  • I will feel guilty about any successes.
  • I will be kept from being me to the fullest and being used to the fullest for the Kingdom.
  • I will be tired.
  • I will resent my family.
  • I will begin looking for an outlet to escape feeling bad.
  • I won’t be noticed.

Most youth pastors probably make a list of goals at the start of each new ministry year. Some of my previous year’s goals have included but aren’t limited to…

  • I will capitalize on middle school boys’ desire to be noticed by middle school girls by providing more extreme opportunities for them to eat things which ought not be eaten.
  • I will mask my real age with skinny jeans, a way too tight Louie Giglio inspired T-shirt, and a faux-hawk. Maybe even get a wrist tattoo that says something like “Christ’s Warrior” in a hip foreign language like Chinese or Greek or Spanish.
  • I will concoct outrageous events with 1,000 hot wings and a chocolate slip-&-slide (if you can get away with the total inappropriateness of that one…it is a sure way to attract teenage boys to your ministry).
  • I will be the coolest adult any teenager has ever met…ever.
  • I will lead 10 teenagers to Jesus…at the very first youth group meeting.

This ministry year I instead decided to make a list of all my anxieties and fears. And as I look over these two seemingly different lists, I can’t help but notice the idolatry of my heart equally exposed.

Rebecca Pippert observes in her book Out of the Saltshaker and into the World:

Whatever controls us is our lord. The person who seeks power is controlled by power. The person who seeks acceptance is controlled by the people he or she wants to please. We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our life.

At the start of this ministry year, let me encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, expose your worst nightmares regarding your ministry to Jesus. Take them to the cross.

  • Jesus will work through me and He will reveal to me how He is working.
  • Jesus is my ministry and He has my back.
  • Jesus is my rest.
  • Jesus is designing a specific ministry through me that is reaching His students.
  • Jesus has already succeeded on my behalf.
  • Jesus called me uniquely for His Kingdom purposes.
  • Jesus is my rest.
  • Jesus loves my family more then I do and has given me to them for my sake and theirs.
  • Jesus is my rest.
  • Jesus chose me.

So glad it’s all about grace.