In our last Daily Thoughts, Carl Trueman spoke about “mega-everything” in church life and ministry. He was not saying that normal, smaller church life is boring or dull; rather, he was saying that anyone who is of the mega-mentality might view churches without the fluff as being boring and unexciting. And that is wrong.
What Trueman said also has another important application.
The effect of “mega, not mundane” has taken a huge toll on the view point of many young men and couples entering the Christian ministry today. It is evident that some do not want the mundane routine of being prepared under faithful pastors until they are truly ready for ministry, not ready in their own eyes, but in the eyes of their pastors and church, prepared by doing real service in unseen ways and learning submission. By the mid-twenties, they often desire to have positions of ministry that often take 20 years to mature into.
Some seem to think they have the wisdom of a 50 or 60 year old pastor and do not want to be under, for any length of time, an experienced pastor. Two years is about the maximum length of time many younger men have the ability to stay put. They become bored by the mundane, discontented, impatient, wanting to be up and doing something on their own, rather than seeing that they could exercise a wonderful ministry right where they are, assisting the elders, visiting the elderly in the nursing homes, going to the hospital to visit the sick, going down to witness to the homeless and where the local teenagers hang out.
But that isn’t attractive; its not big enough or interesting enough; they would rather blog, tweet, and dialogue about theology while they drink their wine and beer, exhibiting their “superior” freedom which they believe is much more than those old foggies down at the church. The attitude at times is–“those men are nice, they are good men, but they are not up to date enough, they aren’t cutting edge; they don’t relate enough; they don’t preach like Piper or Driscoll; I need something innovative, I need to be under someone who is exciting that younger people are really tracking with. I just can’t stay with them–they don’t do ministry good enough. I believe God is leading me away from here.”
The truth is, often they are simply running from what would be God’s best for their maturity and growth, and they are blaming God for their flight by saying, “God is leading me”; no one in the church sees God leading them; their elders who have loved them don’t see God leading them; yet they have convinced themselves it is true.
This is often a deception which is caused by the pride of youth. They simply can’t see that if they were to stay where they are and supported and submitted to the godly leaders they already have, do the menial tasks, serve, be faithful and very consistent at all the meetings of the church, they would make gigantic leaps toward maturity, wisdom, ministry effectiveness, and fruitfulness.
If a younger man or couple in their twenties were to say, “Let’s stay right here where we are for the next ten or fifteen years and serve, serve, serve, doing what no one else is doing, doing all the elders ask us to do and be the most faithful believers in this fellowship”– that young man or couple would be given exceedingly wonderful ministry by the Lord and would far excel those who run from one situation to another. But very few stay put for the long haul. And that is where true ministry really happens. This is a call for all those under 30 years to really consider and search their hearts.
Where is the 20-30 year old Christian young man who would say to his church leaders: “I would love to take on all the nursing home visits, the shut-ins, and the hospital visits; I will do anything you want me to do that no one else is doing; Can I serve Christ in whatever capacity you see is needed in the church?” Where is such a Christian?
Where are the young women who will say to their elder’s wives, “Let me learn from you; let me come and serve your family, and serve along side you in hospitality and in church events– let me help you and I would love for you to mentor and teach me. Let me be a blessing to others and not just receive; let me be a blessing along side you.”
It’s just such a mentality that God abundantly pours out His blessing upon for future quality ministry because the one who is faithful in that which is little will be entrusted with more.
Any young man or couple who are driven about and focused on having a ministry, let them be honest with themselves and beware–they are on dangerous and deceptive ground unless their church body and their elders are like-minded with them; Let them first serve faithfully under their own pastors and elders in their church and patiently let God blossom them into the ministry He will prepare them for. And let them go to their elders to see when they should be sent out to do any ministry. If they do this, they not make the mistakes that so many make and later regret. The truth is, it’s the mundane, faithful Christian, who glorifies God the most.
– Mack Tomlinson