Humility of Heart
I’m convinced that books with titles like “Let’s All Be Brave”, “Do Hard Things” and “Quitter” are actually about youth ministry.
Now, before you judge me, let me just say that I’ve spent the last four years of my life working in youth ministry. My fiancé is currently heading up the one at our church and I do love those teenagers. But sometimes, I struggle.
You see, the reason that I bring up youth ministry is not only because I’ve had plenty of experience in that area, but also because, like many other positions out there in the world, it is mostly a thankless job. Before moving to our current church almost a year ago, my fiancé and I worked for the youth group at our old church, who’s entire congregation stood at about 2,000 people. As you can imagine, we had a lot of teenagers in our hands. A lot.
Now, due to unforeseen circumstances, we’re at a church plant in town, housing about 200 people at our local movie theater.
Pretty sweet, huh?
It’s like a whole new world. Way up here, it’s crystal cl..
Sorry. The point is, we’ve gained different perspective leading fifteen students at a time rather than three hundred. Something changes when you’re forced to do what you’ve always done for way less “fruit”. We’ve been placed in a position where glorifying God looks a lot more like prayer closets and small gatherings than prayer services and blow-out parties. So many things end up going unnoticed because, when you’re building a congregation, it’s all hands on deck.
But here’s the thing, before we stepped in and began helping with the fifteen teenagers, our head pastor was leading them every week, only with three middle schoolers because in the beginning, that’s all there were.
Every. Single. Week.
Now, just in case you haven’t had the pleasure of speaking with a middle schooler recently, I liken it to trying to swim upstream in a hail storm. Impossible, sometimes painful, but really cool if you can somehow get it to work.
With all of this in mind, I think of the humility of my pastor, a man who had once led hundreds of students in large services, sitting in the middle of his living room with three middle schoolers preaching like it was Sunday morning. What’s crazier is that he had been doing this for months before we came along, giving his all no matter how many students showed up or how discouraged he became because he knew that if God could use that time to touch the life of even one of them, it would all be worth it.
What a perfect example of true character: a posture of the heart when no one else is around to notice.
I guess that I say all of this to say that serving God by serving others has to start with the deepest sense of humility of heart. It’s so easy to find comfort in the praise that comes from giving to God out in front of the world (which is in no way a bad thing). But that comfort runs out and in order to serve anyone or anything on a long-term, lifetime basis, we have to find that motivation to keep going at the heart level, when no one is around to give an opinion.
Written by Ashley Marsh, Student at the University of North Florida