At the beginning of the year, there was nothing that got me more psyched up than the title track to Disney’s grammy awarding-winning film High School Musical. It is a beautifully woven and intricately detailed story of teenagers who fall in love in high school, despite how societal norms would have deemed the relationship impossible.
One is the basketball star, the top of the social ladder, the envy of every high schooler. The other is a library hermit, who walks the hallways unnoticed, but with the voice of an angel. The title track to their love story really gets at my heart, and while some may argue that it’s just a love song, I believe there are prevalent themes in the song that can encourage anyone in ministry.
“Living in my own world, didn’t understand. That anything can happen when you take a chance. I never believed in what I couldn’t see. I never opened my heart (oohh) to other possibilities,” Troy Bolton and Gabriella Montez.
One of the craziest things I’ve learned after one year of ministry is that it’s very easy to limit our perception of the power and greatness of God. It’s very ironic that being in ministry almost makes one numb to the actions of God. As a minister you begin to think YOUR job is to bring people to Christ. That if there are any misconceptions about God, it is because WE failed to communicate the Gospel well. Or, if an event isn’t drawing the crowd you imagined, it’s because you weren’t doing enough to be “seeker-friendly.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when something goes well, it’s because YOU did something right. Likewise, the reason a church can draw thousands of people every Sunday is because the PASTOR is a remarkable speaker or the worship music is phenomenal. Doesn’t that sound crazy?
So, when things go well we credit ourselves, and when things go poorly we blame ourselves. Both are simply different manifestations of pride, and both are subtle ways in which ministers are pulled away from God.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I still remember one of the most powerful pieces of advice I’ve ever heard from a pastor of a church I interned with in Grand Junction, Colorado. He said, “the goal of every preacher is for the congregation to see less of ME and more of God.” He continued by saying, “when I finish a sermon I don’t want people to say ‘man the pastor brought it this Sunday,’ I want them to say ‘God is so good.'”
I’ve been leading worship for over 6 years now. I love it. And if you know me well then you’ll know that when I sing I sound like a chipmunk and when I play guitar it sounds like the guitar is on the verge of breaking. Never once, in my 6 years, have I received any complement about my musical ability. Nobody has ever come up to me to say that they loved my voice. But what I love, and what I live for, is when someone comes up to say that they really felt the presence of God. If God can use my chipmunk voice to administer his glory, how much more can He do with my whole life?
So as I step into the rest of this year, despite many signs pointing to a difficult year, I believe that God will move mountains. I believe that God will move in the hearts of students. That He will make leaders out of them, proclaim the Gospel through them and redeem the world with them.