When I began preaching regularly at the age of 18 and then received my first ministry position at the age of 19, I was ill-prepared for the daunting task. I was trying to run without legs. No one had, at that time, taken the time to teach me what it meant to serve in ministry. No one had warned me about the heartache. No one had taken the time to mentor me. That is the responsibility of the church, and the youth ministry I participated in was less than adequate to truly prepare us for life in Christ beyond high school. It certainly could not prepare me for ministry. I wasn’t conditioned. I spent my Christian life up to that point sitting at practice being entertained and was misled to see the ministry as some place for celebrated figures who were musically or rhetorically inclined. Like everyone else in my generation, I sought fame. I perceived God’s calling on my life as a calling to draw people to my own ministry, and the way that I started reflects that mentality. I blame my own shortsightedness. I also blame the youth ministry culture in popular religion. I don’t want you to fall into the same trap that I did. By God’s grace alone I get to see His ministry flourish and I get to participate in that. Brothers, we are servants. We are not celebrities. As Piper would say, we are not professionals. In fact, we are entirely insufficient to even think about this work that we have been called to.
In March 2018, I started working on this devotional. My goal was to create a devotional for church leaders and for young men that I am training for church leadership. This devotional explains the call to ministry, the reality of ministerial depression, and the need for godly endurance. It explains that our ministries don’t actually belong to us. It explains why ministry is not about the spotlight, but about sacrifice and suffering servanthood.
This is an expository devotional through the pastoral epistles and will be helpful for your ministry team, during internships, in training aspiring teenagers, and as a humbling reminder that we are not the owners of our ministries, God is. It will be helpful for any Christian who seeks to truly serve Christ in this world, even if not in vocational ministry or in a pastoral role.
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