It is very common these days to see Student Ministers or other staff members want to be lead pastors. It has been my experience that, as youth guys get around each other, they talk a lot about the days ahead and how they will one day lead the Church. This is not all bad; God has called and is continuing to call godly men to pastor and, as Paul said to Timothy, this is a noble desire (1 Tim. 3:1). However, if we are looking too far ahead in our lives, we may forget the place to where God has called us now.
Looking too far ahead means at least three things. First, it means that you are using the present flock just to fill the time, which hurts both them and you. That would essentially be like telling God, “I have nothing to learn here; I am just waiting on the next train leaving this station.” Secondly, it might imply that you do not have a heart for the people God has given you today. Thirdly, there could be someone else out there who could better love your current flock.
At the end of the day, looking down the road means that the people God gave you now are not being discipled. We so often tell people that their lives are not promised a tomorrow, but we ought to remind ourselves that this is also true for us as ministers. What a waste it would be for us to spend all our time dreaming about what we think the next 15 years of ministry should look like for us, when our tomorrows also remain uncertain. In the mean time, we might have lost sight of our flock.
Consider these four indications that you may be looking too far beyond your present calling:
- 1) What are your dreams? Do you dream about where to take your present ministry? Do you spend time seeking the Lord for what this ministry should look like in the next 6 months or year? Does it excite you to cast that vision? This reveals whether your heart remains with your current ministry.
- 2) Are you praying, really praying, for the people in your ministry now? If your heart for God’s children in your current ministry has dried up, perhaps to the point that you can’t remember the last time prayed for them, repentance is needed.
- 3) Do you spend all your time talking about other areas of ministry beyond your own? This is never a good sign. Especially in student ministry, it is key to spend time talking with other student ministers in your area.
- 4) Are you constantly reading about and fixated on leading a church as the senior pastor? Never stop learning about your current ministry. Perhaps even as a senior pastor one day, you still ought to remain focused on the ministry God presents to you. All in His own time.