On June 1st of 2020 I will have been Youth Pastor at Living Word for four years. What a fast four years it has been. I never imagined when I started that I would be where I am now in the ministry. The knowledge and insight I have gained during my tenure have been useful in countless ways. Being in a leadership position in church (really, in any organization) stretches a person to learn things about dealing with people they may never have learned otherwise. I became Youth Pastor at 16. Yes, that is young, and yes, I was quite naive in many ways when I first started. But I was entrusted by church leadership, and I believe by God also, with the spiritual wellbeing and souls of lots of students younger and older than me. That was, and still is, quite a tough task. Now, almost four years into the ministry, I am dealing with an issue I--and very possible no other youth pastor/pastor in America--have never dealt with before: the shutting down of church services for an extended period of time per government request and/or order, depending on how you see it. The inability to physically meet together throws a whole wrench in the idea of what church is for most of us. Most of us know the church is not a building, but rather a people, but we also know the value of assembling together among ourselves. It is a clear mandate in Scripture that we come together physically. There is power in the church coming together in this way. One of the biggest examples of why this is important is the laying on of hands. How can we lay hands on one another and pray in that way if we cannot meet together physically? While the laying on of hands will be impossible for a time, church is not cancelled. There are thankfully many avenues now, thanks to the internet and social media, that make it possible to continue to meet together, study the Word, hear a sermon preached, worship together, and pray tighter. There are even ways to still give tithes and offerings. Just as I have learned many things about ministry in my first few years, I am now stretched to learn other, new ways to spread the Gospel and build up the faith of my teens. It is unlike anything I've ever had to do before. Sure, we've always done an Instagram live of the service on Wednesday nights, and I've always kept up to date with the Instagram and Facebook posts, but having the internet as our only way of reaching each other presents interesting challenges, and yet bright new opportunities. I've learned of ideas to implement social media into the ministry in ways I never would have thought had I just continued to have service regularly. These are methods that don't have to stop when we can meet together again. That's the awesome thing about it. Always look for what you can learn in a situation, whether good or bad. Jesus always looked for teachable moments. I believe we should do the same as well as look for moments to teach ourselves life lessons. We may not get the chance again to learn the things we are learning, or to see life the way we are seeing it now. Take this opportunity, and every opportunity and seek the Lord and his wisdom and insight.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.