I have been a professional wrestling fan since the 6th grade. Call me lame, but I have always found something so exciting and interesting about the entire idea of the show, emotion, athleticism, and history of it. The Ultimate Warrior is one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. While he is well known for his time in the early 90’s, he is better known in the wrestling world for his poor reputation and his own self-destruction. Another title for this blog could be, “How to Not Be a Flash in the Pan.” Here are a few things I learned from his mistakes that easily translate to ministry:
Don’t forget the purpose. The Ultimate Warrior was resented because most of the locker room believed that he didn’t actually care about the craft of wrestling and the history of it, he was only there to put on a show. He lost the purpose behind why he did what he did. He never pushed himself to get better and it led to consistent mediocre matches. We can’t forget the “why” behind what we do. Don’t get caught up in putting together a fancy weekend program for the sake of having a cool weekend. Make sure that everything you do points towards pushing students to know and experience Christ.
Don’t forget who you are. The Ultimate Warrior got so obsessed by his character that he even legally changed his name to “Warrior.” He found his identity in the person that he created. That is something that I have seen in ministry several times and have even fallen into myself. Don’t forget that you are not a youth pastor first. You are a Christ follower first. It can be so easy to find your identity in ministry and to find your worth in your performance. How you identify yourself determines where you place your priorities. Placing ministry as number one leads to a huge gap in your spiritual life, causing your ministry to suffer in a big way.
Don’t forget your community. The Warrior only looked out for himself. This led to the entire locker room turning against him and his complete alienation from the company. This translates into a couple different ways in ministry. The first is to not look out only for your own performance. Symptoms of this are throwing other people under the bus in order to make yourself look better, manipulating situations in order to get recognition or attention, and an unhealthy concern about achieving your own motives and goals. The second is looking out only for your ministry at your church. While you need to fight for your ministry (if you don’t, who will?), you also need to know that other ministries in the church are also important. Make sure you are always looking outside yourself.