What’s Your Dream Job?

Growing up, my imagination and my dreams formed just like any other kid. Every time I saw a plane, I was ecstatic about becoming a pilot. After my house caught fire, I wanted to be a fireman. When I heard stories of police officers saving lives and watched movies of them administering justice, it only made sense that I wanted to join the force. Not too long after, on a national level, joining the military reached the forefront of my mind. Each idea having to do with making a difference, changing lives and having an adventure.

Quickly, the childhood dreams turned from administering justice and saving lives to a dream of someday working in the corporate world. Thoughts of college and things to come after became overwhelming. Maybe a job as an accountant, or psychiatrist, or even join my father as a lawyer! (My father would be proud). Still, the idea of changing lives and making a difference never left my mind. Soon after high school though, I got plugged into ministry in an incredible way, and with the help of mentors and the heart God had given me, becoming a youth pastor made sense. As a child, it was something I never thought I would do.

Not too long ago, I went out for coffee with someone that had a ton of questions around the church and about youth ministry. They have a heart for ministry, but he wasn’t too sure about the role someone in the corporate world should play in partnering and in serving. Like this guy, many people’s reaction to and thoughts of youth ministry are focused around the assumption that we teach, train and grow our students to become the next best pastor or to graduate from a Christian college and work for a large church or non-profit organization.

Before I give an answer, or my two cents, around this subject, I tend to think back on something that always stuck with me. It was watching my father work as pastor AND as a lawyer. Through the many years of observing, my mind was blown when it became clear that the reality was my father could make more of a difference in this world as a lawyer than as a pastor. He worked diligently and hard to administer the life of Christ in both of these worlds, but, God knew what he was doing we He placed the “right” profession on my father’s heart.

This is one of many examples that I use to explain my dream for youth ministry. It is to create a culture where we teach, train and grow our students to live out Micah 6:8 and John 13:34-35 no matter where they are and no matter what they’re doing. We’ve always heard that God calls everyone to be a pastor; whether you are literally the pastor of a church, or sitting in a cubicle next to 100 other employees. As pastors, we need to teach, train and grow the next generation to live like Christ and to make a difference in any job that God has for them, because 99 times out of 100, they’ll be living out what they dreamed as a child or whatever it is that God is calling them to in the corporate world.

The way I see it … If we are only living missionally inside the church, then it wouldn’t be living missionally.

Passion in Ministry

Four years ago, I had a great mentor tell me that ministry cannot be done great without it becoming your passion. As I started to ask him what he meant, he gave me an example. He shared about a guy who had an incredible passion for his ministry. He had a desire to truly see each person become the man or woman of God that they were called to be. He was so passionate that he made sure that his ministry didn’t become a 9-5 job, but instead became a lifestyle. This leader intentionally made an effort to change people’s hearts – whether it meant opening his home, visiting people at late hours of the night, even sacrificing an NBA basketball game in order to attend a members son’s high school basketball game. Through his incredible passion, lives were changed and he was trusted by many people.

I continually remember thinking of this story as I started to get plugged into ministry. I didn’t want to be someone that just did it because they were asked, or did it to make myself feel good. I really wanted lives to change and be used by God to be an example to people. Shortly after, ministry became a passion.

A leader of mine one time asked me about something that reminded me of this idea. They said, “I’m really passionate about students in our ministry, and I love to do what I can to be a great example no matter what it takes. But, how can I further what I’m already doing now?” In that moment, I didn’t know how to respond but thought of the prior story for some reason. I asked God for some words, and He gave me some. I responded telling him that people don’t only have one passion. I asked him what his other passions were, besides ministry. He told me that he was really passionate about sports and camp fires. So I encouraged him to use those passion to feed into the students in the ministry. Walking away, I thought I was an idiot because I could’ve said more. Yet shortly after, he started an ultimate frisbee day where every Tuesday after school, students would gather from all over and play ultimate frisbee. They would play for about 2 hours and then have a fire and roast hot dogs and cook smores.  We saw student’s come to Christ because of the example this leader was being. Countless, life-changing conversations occurred during these Tuesdays (and throughout the week) because this leader found that God could use his passions to minister to people. And what this leader didn’t know at the time was that he was not only being an example to students, but to me as well – to want to use my passions to change the lives of people.