Regardless of what I’ll admit or say out loud, some days I ponder the possibility of becoming a minister, and I think… I can totally do this. This is what God is calling me to be. Other days, I think that if I were in charge of the spiritual formation of other human beings we would all be royally screwed. The thing that terrifies me about the possibility of discerning that I have been called to the ministry is that I would be the one that everyone would expect to have all the answers and to have my crap together. If I’ve learned anything about the church is that the church is made up of broken people led by equally broken people that are expected to have their crap together – when in reality, they don’t. To be honest, there are probably more reasons that I should not be a pastor than I should. Obviously, you guys are reading this because you probably know me and want to keep up with me this summer, and probably don’t really care about the inner dialogue in my head, so I will spare you the details of my list of reasons I should not be a pastor.
[ When I write things I generally give them a day or two to just simmer in my head and heart to decide if I care enough to share them. Most of the time, I do this to make sure I feel like I have concluded my thoughts and I’m not writing about something boring. This post, however, just felt different. I had only written three things on my “Why I shouldn’t…” list. I knew I needed more items if it were to be a list, but I felt the urge to write something completely different. The result: a lot of questions with few answers.]
I think the question of whether or not I should be a pastor is complex. Obviously, it comes down to whether God calls me into the ministry… however, something I have thought a lot about in re-reading that list is if I should even be making a list of reasons that I should not be a pastor…
With so many people unhappy in their occupations, I wonder if other Christians have dismissed the possibility that they could be called into the ministry for similar reasons as I listed as flaws in myself. By making this list of “reasons I should not go into the ministry,” am I perpetuating the whole “I should not go into the ministry, because I am not a perfect human being” idea? Am I perpetuating the idea of placing the characteristics of what a minister “should be” into a box and expecting everyone called to the ministry to fit in that box? What does my “box” say about the church going population of the world? Is the church only attracting people that relate to the “box” instead of attracting people of all different backgrounds? Is our own humanity impeding the building of God’s kingdom?
If no one is perfect, including church leadership, why do I feel the need to hyper-analyze myself in order to determine if I am worthy or not, because of my own flaws, to be a spiritual leader? Why do I feel that I must “okay” God’s call for my life? Why do I think that I am inadequate to serve in a ministry capacity because I am an imperfect human being? Am I holding myself to unrealistic, and hurtfully high standards?
Does making this list say something about my own spiritual immaturity or lack of faith in God to use imperfect beings? Ouch.
Finally, is this list is just another attempt for me to deny the possibility that I could be called to the ministry? I have been told since 7th grade that I should go into the ministry by various people, but that was never what I wanted. When people mentioned it, I generally shook it off, changed the subject, and dismissed the idea. To be honest, I have felt the tug before, not that I will ever admit it aloud, but I have felt it (a tug, not a yank, mind you). Until this past semester, as a second-semester college freshman that was fed up with not having a plan for the future, I did not give the whole ministry idea the time of day. Obviously, my plans were not working out, so I figured I might as well give God a chance to guide my feet and my heart. Then, boom! Hello, internship opportunity.
I have no clue what I’m doing with my life, but thank God I’m not really the one that has to decide. Similarly to my earlier statement about days where I think that if I had to be a spiritual leader we’d all be screwed – if I had to be the once to decide my future, I’d be screwed. I am grateful that I have a God as strong as I am weak leading my life. It is my prayer that I be open to God’s call when it comes, and if I am being dumb and just missing it, that God give me a clear sign to cut through my thick skull. Additionally, I hope that I continue to grow into living a more examined life. I hope to live in the midst of the questions, embrace them with a big bear hug, and regardless of whether or not I get answers, keep asking questions.