Thursday, August 13, 2009

All In? Thoughts from a struggling servant (guest blogger Caleb Jones)

Here it is. The guest blog from Caleb Jones. You can read his intro from yesterday HERE. These are his RAW & HONEST thoughts on ministry & serving... specifically in a local church.
[emphasis below is mine]

All In? Thoughts from a Struggling Servant - by Caleb Jones

What is the point of striving in ministry if you have no help? I know that numbers aren't everything, but I still feel like after so much hard work, it would pay off! I would think that the people in my congregation would get the excitement I have and want to pitch in and help! But I'm absolutely wrong!!! Let me explain....

I graduated from college back in '06 with a Bible degree. I have such a passion for teens and young adults (as well as so many other areas of ministry). When I graduated college, many of my buddies found full time positions in churches while I got a job at GM (which is over on September 30). [Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful for the job and I was even able to pay off all my debt... But that really doesn't have anything to do with this blog!] There was so much pressure (I felt) of "full time ministry"! Sometimes I feel that I have no clue what ministry is all about even though I know it's serving others and preaching the Gospel!
Well my dreams finally came true... So I thought! I was offered a non-paid, full-time youth pastor position at a church in Flint, MI. Over the course of a year, I had pretty much burned myself out. I was working 70 hours a week for GM, and 35 a week for the church (did I mention it was a non-paid position?). I had just become engaged to my freaking hot wife, when I started working all of these hours. Was this true ministry? I felt like I was doing everything with no help! I only made it 1 year before I resigned! Did I fail? I'm honestly confused about how ministry works in a church.

The church we are in now has been in existence for 4 years. They normally run around 70-80 people every Sunday morning. The pastor and his family are awesome! He is a great pastor and serves his church more than anyone I know!
We have been there for almost a year now and love it! Except we have been pouring our hearts out to the people to get involved! The pastor just finished a series called, "if u want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat!". We have had some good responses but not a lot of action at all! We are basically on our hands and knees begging them to help serve and to get involved, but nothing seems to work! The church has been the same size for about 2 years now!

What do we do? I feel like completely giving up and saying that this ministry is crap, but I know that people have grown in Christ through this ministry! I know that just because a church is big, doesn't make it healthy; and a small church doesn't equal weak! Numbers aren't everything, but it does mean growth! If there were even 30 people who wanted more in life than just a Sunday morning service to attend, I would be thrilled and probably wouldn't be writing this blog, but we literally have 8! That's only 10%!!!!

I'm tired of being a part of a church that's lazy and comfortable! I'm not building myself up, trust me!! The pastor and I brainstorm all the time about how to make it grow and what we (I) need to change so I'm not keeping them from growing!!! We have had long talks about ending it at the end of this year if there is no growth! We are modern in music, style, service, etc. Jesus is our focus and conversation!

So what are your thoughts and ideas? What can we change? what can I do?
Should I leave a church that seems to be never changing?

I bet this scenario is pretty common so I look foward to hearing what works/fails for you! There are too many good struggling pastors out there who need encouragement and advice.

Thanks Patrick for using your blog for the edification of the Kingdom!
- a struggling servant


musicman said...

I am reminded of that parable where the king invited guests to dinner and no one he went to the "highways and byways" to quote the KJV. Perhaps its a chance to cast the net on th other side of the boat? I spent a lot of years in ministries and I learned I had to draw boundaries to keep myself from burning out....just a few thoughts that come to mind. Not real answers...but God does see your heart and your prayers are the kind you can count on an answer to.

hassanpour said...

i hear ya, Caleb. thanks for being transparent. the fact that it bothers you means you care - i think thats cool. i can tell your struggle to serve is not in self-interest, but because you want others to know and enjoy the One, True God. talk to you later

musicman said...

I keep thinking that maybe the people who you are pouring your life into may not be the ones who need you most. Maybe 35 hours a week at a homeless shelter would produce more fruit for Jesus? I don't know...just thinking and not holding myself out as a great example or anything. Jesus came for the sick and lost, not the healthy......I remember a time when I felt my life turning in an entirely different direction. I could visualize the horizon sweeping by. It was the road less taken and I have no regrets.

Trey Long said...

do you have peace about the situation? Jesus had peace with the storm, and he was ok. Peter trusted Him (kinda) but started sinking because of waivering faith. If you have 100% faith in Jesus, and you are where you need to be, you'll have peace about it...keep walking on the water bro...if not, row your boat down the river...