It is so easy to focus on the students that let you down, that you pour time and energy into and who leave to do their own thing. A while back I saw one of the girls that I had an opportunity to reach out to for a few months, but who never really responded to the sermons, everything was just about hanging out with friends. We had to go way out of our way to pick her up and drop her off while shew as coming. When I saw her she had a baby of her own. I felt that I had some how failed and wondered if there was anything I could have done differently.
I get hung up on things like that. I mean I really obsess over my failures. That’s why I hate losing so much, I can’t let it go. I never miss the same question on two tests because I take every wrong answer personally. I find the right answer and don’t ever forget what I did wrong. I don’t know if other pastors are like that, I just know that any perceived failure on my part can take up my whole vision, not to the point of preventing me from moving forward, but in the sense of keeping from making the same mistake. The problem is, people get to do their own thing, and my actions can’t keep them from making mistakes.
At some point I need to change my vision and remember that there are good students that get even better. I have a few of those right now, but two in particular have really been doing great. I don’t know that they will never let me down, I mean hey, I have to remember I’m human and I’m bound to let others down, so my students have the same potential. Right now, though, I am so proud of them.
I have a hard time letting things go, not just perceived failures, I have a hard time trusting others to take on tasks, but ministry isn’t about doing everything yourself. I’ve often said students aren’t the Church of tomorrow, they are the Church right now. If they aren’t doing the work of the Church now then they never will.
To that end, I released them to plan and execute the Easter Egg hunt this year. Last year I was a bit more involved, but this year I tried to intentionally let them run with it. They did a great job. They experienced frustrations with getting volunteers and donations, but they pulled off a bigger and better event this year despite those frustrations, and even the weather raging against us. I just have to give them a huge shout out, and I know I can trust them with even more things now.
What about you? Do you have anyone you want to give an “ataboy” to? Who, what great and amazing things have they done? How can you help them by releasing them?