Guest post by Eric Gargus, interlinc WriteGroup and 15-year Youth Ministry Vet
How are you handling the shadows and darkness when it comes? I’ll be the first to admit there are times I get so frustrated I’d like to throw things. There are also times it seems almost attractive to consider walking away from ministry into obscurity. Many times I wonder if anything I’m doing is making an impact.
There is good news in all three scenarios. A little disciplined anger when things don’t work as expected indicates the passion is still intact. The thought of walking into obscurity was implanted by none other than Satan, which means I’m doing some healthy damage to his little temporary playground called earth. And questioning the impact of my efforts means my ministry’s intent is for kingdom impact and not shallow filler. Now that’s a positive take on doubts and fears!
I know it’s not that easy to pull yourself out of the muck. Have you tested the muscles in God’s great arm? When exhaustion hits and the mind shifts into the wrong gear there’s serious danger of engine damage. The cure is feeding the soul from the Word of God — even if you don’t feel like it. In addition to the no-brainers of praying honestly to God and reading the Bible, add a shot of the music you are “feeling” at the moment … if it’s by Christian artists that is.
I was having a Skillet kind of morning today. Yes, a 41-year-old clean-cut guy looks a bit strange driving his daughter to school while banging his head to “Sick of It” and beating the steering wheel to mimic Jen Ledger’s mad percussion skills! Now I’m in my office listening to Kristian Stanfill and Chris Tomlin and I’m feeling worshipful. Perhaps my new City Harmonic album (thanks interlinc!) will be spinning tonight after student worship.
Toss all this in the blender and out comes a tiny little nugget of hope: You will doubt and feel useless at times. God knows you and built you with that capacity. He also knows your heart’s intent and gave you prayer and His Bible with which to feed your soul. And living in 2013, you have the fortune of the greatest selection of God-honoring music ever with which to keep the feelings in check and the fire burning. Turn to Jesus and turn it up!
Editor’s note: Eric is one of a handful of writers who contribute to the YLO andMVL Resource Books each quarter. We’re grateful to Eric for his work, but more so for his insight and his heart for youth leaders.