I’ve made a lot of mistakes in ministry. From being a people pleaser to answering questions that no one was asking to letting the “loudest” voice win, I’ve messed up royally! I could continue this series of posts forever but I won’t. So, I’ve saved the best for last:
5. Trying to live in stealth mode.
I remember preaching a Sunday night service about 9 years ago. I don’t remember what I preached. However, I remember an honest conversation that I had after the service that forever changed my approach to communicating God’s Word. A dear friend in the church (who happened to be a preacher too) shared with me that my delivery was awesome, my content was hermeneutically sound, and my logical flow was impeccable. However, I lacked one thing: I sounded like every other preacher in our church. I was hiding my gifts under the radar. I had become a clone. In my attempt to not “rock the boat” I adopted the mannerisms, tone, and convictions of the other staff pastors and the lead pastor. My friend encouraged me to “keep it real.” He called out a creativity and boldness in me that I knew existed, but I was afraid to let out. I realized that I’d not only become a clone in my preaching, I was a clone in EVERYTHING I did as a pastor. That one conversation set me on a crash course with where I am today in ministry.
Today, I am not ashamed of the gifts God has given me. Today, I refuse to allow the bad theology of another person to speak condemnation into my life. Today, I am more committed than ever to be exactly who God created ME to be. I can’t be like the pastor from your old church, but I can be me. Today, I am no longer flying under the radar! I don’t have to perform. I don’t have to try to be “good enough.” Today, I know who I am in Christ.
If you’ve learned anything from my mistakes in ministry this is the one I pray you learn the most from. This is not a call to rebel or fight healthy growth and discipline. This is a call to find your God-given voice and your God-given gifts and then unleash them on the world for God’s glory. You can only stay stealth for so long. It’s time to unmask!