There are a lot of reasons people I talk to want to go into ministry. Some spend hours and hours following Christian celebrity leaders such as Andy Stanley, Mark Driscoll and Craig Groeschel, developing an ideology of what “ministry” looks like, feels like and how it all operates. Make no mistake; this blog post is not a slam on those men in any way, shape or form. God has anointed those ministries and are making incredible impacts on their local communities and the world. But you see, that’s just it. Those are their ministries that God has them leading…not you. You may want to be like them or even be them, but you never will be like them and you definitely won’t be them. So stop trying so hard to be Mark Driscoll. Stop trying so hard to be Andy Stanley. Stop trying to be _________________ (you put your biggest influence in the blank). You won’t ever be them or like them in any significant way. If you become like them, you will not be like the person God wants you to be. He already has a Craig Groeschel.
Why do you want to be in ministry? Why do you want to lead a ministry? Are you looking for the lights, the stage, the awesome music, the awesome kids program, awesome volunteers and giving your awesome message? If this is you, quit now. Quit ministry now because you are coveting and hungering for a ministry you can create so that…so that you can be like another.
Is this really what God’s heart is calling for in your life and ministry?
I made this same mistake. God used LifeChurch.tv to save my life. I began attending the NW OKC campus, led by Scott Williams and ultimately led by Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel. I became heavily involved in youth ministry and served every service available doing whatever was available to do. I needed a model and I watched Craig & Scott, listened to Craig & Scott. Craig has 6-kids and I’ve got 5. I began to dress like Craig, teach like Craig, have the same mannerisms as Craig. It wasn’t at a weird and freaky unhealthy level, but it was bad enough that I was no longer being myself. I even attempted, with their help, to create a LifeChurch.tv Network Church in Portland, Oregon. The ministry flopped. It flopped, not because it was a faulty church admin philosophy or system, but because it was MY ministry.
Then I created “TrueLifeCommunity” (TLC), a ministry of Powell Valley Covenant Church. Again, I created this ministry with my ideas of what it would look like and how it would operate. I spent countless hours on the admin side of things. Finally the grand opening had arrived. I sat on a stool in front of a bunch of people where God proceeded to break me in half spiritually. God said to me in that moment, “Well, go ahead. Tell them all of this is YOUR ministry. Because that’s what it is…YOUR ministry. That’s ALL it is…YOUR ministry.” And so I confessed to them and welcomed them to MY ministry. By God’s grace alone does TLC still exist and is doing well.
Do yourself a favor and God a favor-clean the slate of what you think your ministry should look like; clean the slate of what you think you should look like and how you should perform; and ask God what He wants you to look like. And don’t be surprised when He doesn’t give you the answer, but gives you hurting and desperate and broken people. Love them sacrificially and unconditionally and then look back at it and there you will find what God’s ministry looks like, what God’s ministry feels like and what God’s ministry for your life is purposed to be. It’s really that simple.