Building a Healthy Ministry-Esteem

leadership, Ministry

This post originally appeared here:

I think there’s a dichotomy of the way youth pastors, or honestly anyone in general, tends to view themself: Either we are incredibly full of ourselves, or incredibly unsure of ourselves. Put another way: Either we think we’re the “poop”, or a piece of “poop.” Either way, it stinks and funks up our ministry.

Prideful people push others away. There are plenty of posts out there on pride, so I want to focus on the opposite.

Humility is great. Humility is Godly. But listen: Humility is not thinking of yourself as lowly and unworthy of love or even praise. Humility is putting God’s agenda above our own and praising Him in successes.

How Low Ministry-Esteem Hurts

Humility is not low self-esteem. Low self-esteem hurts ministry because the minister second guesses himself. It hurts because the minister isn’t confident in the choices he makes, the lessons he teaches, or the students he lead.  In other words, it is:

  • Lack of confidence in decision-making abilities, so he often second-guesses them and loses respect of those who watch him make the decisions.
  • Lack of confidence in ability to bring the Gospel, so he downplays it and doesn’t deliver the Gospel message aggressive enough or convicting enough.
  • Lack of confidence in ability to draw students with Jesus, so he has trouble developing events and programming.
  • Lack of confidence in the students’ ability to reach others for Jesus, so he doesn’t put in place the appropriate programming providing missional opportunities.
  • Any others? Puthem in the comments.

Building Balance

We are depraved, there’s no doubt about it. Yes, we are helpless (Romans 5:6). Yes, we shouldn’t think we are better than we really are (Romans 12:3). And yes, we are not to boast or be arrogant (1 Corinthians 13:4). And of course, we are to think of others as more highly than ourselves, for even Christ emptied himself and humbled himself to being a man dying on a cross…for us (Philippians 2).

But look at that: Christ saw us worthy enough to die for us. God loved us so much that he sent his son to die for us (John 3:16).

So even if we are nothing compared to Christ, that doesn’t mean that we are nothing to Christ. We were made in God’s image (Genesis 1). We were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). God gave us a spirit, “not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). God gave us each a very personal gift from his Spirit to use for his Kingdom, and he expects us to use it. Paul says to the Thessalonians (2:4-5):

“And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do all the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

Humility is denying personal sin, regarding others as God sees them, and knowing that we are loved.  And you are loved, dear friend and minister of young people.

Live a redeeming and affirming life knowing this.

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