The Festivus Community

I wrote this article for a youth ministry email list today:

The youth pastor mantra: let’s get together for some coffee this week.  So we get together with some other youth pastors to enjoy a mocha when the topic turns to ministry of course.  Do we do anything else in our lives?  When the topic turns to ministry, I can almost guarantee that it instantly becomes Festivus.

1. The Airing of Grievances – Festivus starts with the airing of grievances.  I don’t know how many times I have gathered together with other youth workers only to have the time turn into a complaint session.  I understand the need to vent.  I understand that the job is not easy.  I understand that we are often overworked, underappreciated, underpaid, scapegoated, dismissed, and viewed as second tier ministers.  However all this complaining is getting us nowhere.  It makes us bitter toward parents, bitter toward students, bitter toward Senior Pastors, and ultimately bitter toward God for ‘putting’ us in this situation.  Now you might be asking, ‘Isn’t this guy complaining about complaining?’  In truth I am writing this without ill will or feeling toward anyone.  If you want to know my true intention, you have to keep reading.

2. The Feats of Strength – Who can forget the feats of strength.  This is the other great battle that takes place over lattes.  We have become so identified with our ministries that we need them to validate us.  As if our attendance numbers give our eternal souls worth.  Example 1: You have a traditional youth night with games and stuff?  Right on, well we have a bit smaller focus.  We have over 70 students in small groups because that’s how Jesus did ministry, blah, blah, it’s more relational, blah, blah, blah…greater impact for the Kingdom.  Example 2: You are going to the National Youth Gathering this year?  That’s cool.  We are taking students to Mexico to build a house because we feel that students really need life changing experiences, blah, blah, blah, hands and feet of Jesus, blah, blah…it will stay with them forever.  Why do we tear one another apart?  Look around, it’s just us.  In 30 years what will matter?  We will be going grey or bald or both.  Where will our students be?

3. Festivus miracles – What if when we got together, we prayed for one another?  Not the, ‘God be with Chris in all that he does at Grace Church’ prayer nonsense.  I mean down and dirty movement of the Holy Spirit – laying hands on one another, battling for them spiritually, lifting them up to the Lord most high?  What if we rejoiced in each other’s ministries?  What if we stopped trying to top one another and started trying to care for one another’s souls?  What if we stopped complaining and started to live as though we have been given life everlasting?  What if we did not, “Let any unwholesome talk come out of (our) mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen?” (Ephesians 4:29)  What if we took refuge in the Lord and let go of all the clinging of the flesh to want to be better, bigger, cooler, greater, and more relevant than the next person?  Because then, “We will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)  And that my friends would be a Festivus miracle.


1 Comment »

  1. robin Said:

    actually…I read this several days ago…but didn’t think about commenting until after you made a shot at me earlier today! LOL…anyway, you are right…I could have written that same article 1000’s of times during the years I’ve spent in ministry…sad! I like the name though…sounds very pagan. Maybe…no, I better not go there!

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