Skip to main content

Missing the Youth Pastor

A little over a year ago, the Blue Team (think senior leadership team—kinda) of our church met for a couple days.  We had an agenda—create a new leadership structure for our church.  Our church had long since outgrown our structure in terms of sheer numbers, and particularly, with having multiple campuses.  We weren’t structured to function as a multi-site church, so we weren’t really functioning as a multi-site church, and we knew that had to change.

We’d spent a couple months preparing for this meeting, we spent a couple days in this meeting, and we spent months editing, editing, and editing the result of this meeting.

Eventually, we completed our structure.  My name appeared in a few bubbles on the org chart:  Student Director, Powhatan Campus Student Coordinator, Online Campus Pastor, and Guide Pastor.  That’s a lot of bubbles.

We agreed I’d move myself out of some of those bubbles over time.  First up—Powhatan Campus Student Coordinator.  It was clear to me and everyone else, that as long as I was leading the student ministry at our largest campus, I would be unable to do the other roles.  It was time for me to move from being the week-to-week practitioner of student ministry to being the coach for other week-to-week practitioners of student ministry across our campuses.  It was time for me to put on my big girl pants, move beyond student ministry, and tackle the second half of our mission statement, “to guide them to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ,” as the Guide Pastor.

Here we are—one year later.

I’ve successfully moved out of the Powhatan Student Coordinator position, and my friend Karen Heinike has successfully moved into that position.  I enjoy having her has a friend, I’m proud of how she’s moved into this role, and I’m excited to see what God has in store for her.

I’m slowly moving into the role of Guide Pastor.  The learning curve is steep.  Starting new initiatives is hard.  Seeing myself, and helping others see me, differently is even harder.  It’s good hard, but it’s still hard.  It’s challenging, but that’s where being competitive is advantageous.  I’ve faced many steep learning curves in my life, mostly in classroom settings, and I’ve climbed to the top of all of them.  Of course, that’s before I was a mom.  Being a mom changes everything, and it’s awesome, but the emotional, mental, and physical energy I once exerted to overcome steep learning curves is energy that now goes to raising and caring for my family.  So, I’m learning how to dig deeper and to work smarter.

And I’m learning to let go.  I was PCC’s first, and until recently, PCC’s only “youth pastor.”  I’m thrilled to share that role now with amazing friends who God is calling to follow him!  But it’s hard to let go of being the youth pastor.  I did my first stint in youth ministry in June 2001.  I know a little bit about how to be the youth pastor.  I don’t know a thing about being the Guide Pastor.  And that’s scary.  And that means I might fail.  And well, we competitive people don’t see that as an option.

A couple weeks ago, I received a text from a former student:  Missing my youth pastor right now.  I’ll never be too old to cherish the love you show all of us. 

I’m missing the youth pastor right now, too.

But then I hear the late Cecil Sherman in my head saying to me, “Don’t put yourself in a youth pastor box.  God has other things in store for you.”

So, this is me getting out of my youth pastor box, that I did indeed put myself in (despite Dr. Sherman’s wise advice).

And, as he would say at the beginning of class, “It’s time for school.”  It’s time to tackle this learning curve, no matter how steep.


Popular posts from this blog

A Response to Charlottesville

Visiting our nation’s capital is an easy day trip for us, and how I chose to spend a precious vacation day this week.  I took pride in explaining the buildings and icons of my country to my children.  I am proud to be an American.  

But today, I am not proud.  
Today, I weep.

Four days ago, I saw the beautiful, infamous words “We the People” with my own eyes for the first time.  
Four days later, I am reminded of how far we still have to go to fully live into those words:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

What has happened 63 miles from my home, in Jefferson’s beautifully-domed, colonnaded city, is far from perfect, just, or tranquil.
This is not what our founding fathers wanted for our country, nor is …

A Message to Graduates

I have been a Pastor to Students (The title has changed numerous times; the role remains.) in Powhatan, Virginia for roughly 12 years.  I daresay I've been ministering to teenagers in this community longer than many.

Over the last dozen years, I've gotten lots of cool opportunities to minister to teenagers in this area.   But one had always eluded me--speaking at a baccalaureate service.  My husband had done the honors.  Other great pastors in the area had as well.  Once, I'd offered the closing prayer.  

This week, that changed.  I had the distinct honor to share with the PHS Class of 2016 at their baccalaureate service.  It was a wonderful experience working with great students, parents, and school leaders.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity!!!

A few people missed it and have asked to see what I said, so here it is, ALL of it:

June 1999 I sat in this space for my Baccalaureate service.  Before I was a pastor at PCC, before I moved back to Powhatan to raise my family, …

Disillusionment of Adulthood

Now that I’m in my 30’s, I must confess to disillusionment.  Growing up, I had ideas of what adulthood would be like.  I’m here, and it’s not entirely what I’d imagined.
For starters, I remember growing up amidst all the drama that comes with, well, growing up.  The gossip.  The hurt feelings.  The misunderstandings.  The fights between friends.  The back-stabbing.  And I remember being told that it would get better.  I’m not sure who told me that, but they were clearly wrong.
The drama may look a little different.  The words may sound a little different.  But the anguish of relationships remains.
Adults hurt each other’s feelings—intentionally and unintentionally. Adults nitpick and cause fights over inconsequential issues. Adults gossip. Adults cry, scream, and pitch fits. Adults build relational alliances, competing in “us vs. them” relational war. Adults let issues build and exponentially swell until they explode. Adults rarely identify the actual issue instead of the presenting issue. Adul…