“I got this.“
Those were the three fatal words that I used to oversell myself to the man who would eventually become my current lead pastor and boss. He was giving me a tour around their large student ministry center while I was being interviewed for the student ministries pastor position at our church. I was fresh out of Bible college and had a lot of talent, but when the size of that building and the magnitude of the task of building that youth group were presented, reality slapped me harder than a prom date making all the wrong moves.
The painful truth was that I didn’t have it. Not only was the building big, but the student ministry was dying and awaiting the final nail to be driven into its coffin. It made me want to go ask for my money back from my Bible college. They didn’t teach us how to handle this stuff. So I did what any self-respecting, wannabe pastor would do—I went to God. I told Him that I had already committed to the task He had given me, and I was willing to give it my best shot, but I needed a road map and directions for my first few steps. He answered me, and in the following weeks He gave me three principles that have since guided my process as I navigate this movement of a ministry we now have. Here’s what He said:
Do what’s right in front of your face.
There will always be pressure to get everything done at once—to give attention to the urgent and the important. But let’s be real, everything is urgent and important. Do the thing God has put in front of you. You’ll know what it is because it will haunt you, bother you, and run through your head several times a day. When we give attention to what God puts in front of us, He will more than often take care of everything on the periphery.
Feed what God is already growing.
There are so many times when we feel the pressure to plant our own programs and grow our own agendas. We look at how others are doing it and feel the urge to do it, too. The thing is, if God is growing something in your ministry, chances are it’s because He wants it there. When you feed it instead of fight it, God honors you and your efforts, and He blesses the desires of your hearts. The difficulty here is seeing past your own wants and recognizing that God just might be doing something better.
Walk on water, like Peter.
I’m not this great man of faith when it comes to launching new things. In fact, statistics show that 99% of the time I worry that it will fail. And yet, when God calls me to do something beyond myself, He doesn’t seem to pay any attention to my fears or the storms I perceive around my task. The same went for Peter. When Jesus asked Peter to come out to him on the wind and the waves, He didn’t ask Peter to know how to walk on water. He simply asked Peter to get out of the boat. When God calls you to something great, He’s not asking you to know how it’s all going to work, come together, or even if it will succeed at the end. All that God is asking of you is that you get good at getting out of the boat every time He asks. He’ll take care of the rest.
Every time I start something new, be it a program, a ministry, or a personal task, I keep these three things in front of me and they have helped me navigate some of the most difficult undertakings of my life.
This post was from Terry Parkman who is the Lead Student Ministries Pastor of River Valley Youth in Minneapolis, MN, a student-driven movement that is defined by a generation of influencers who are passionate about Jesus Christ and what He calls this generation to accomplish for the Kingdom.