Have you ever been on vacation or any unknown area and found yourself constantly checking the navigation to make sure you are in the right direction? I mean, we live in a time where we have computers with state-of-the-art tech to get us anywhere in the world; how can you get lost, right?! I was recently in New Mexico, and on one of the days we were there, we decided to try and visit a lake that was supposed to be just a few minutes away. My father-in-law was the caravan leader of three cars, and we trusted he knew where we were going.
Well, after about three stops and 5 dollars towards a state park parking pass, we ended up in a campsite that was nowhere near any access to the lake. Every stop, my father in law would check the maps they had posted to see if there was a place to get to the lake, and every time he thought, “ I don’t know if we have gone too far” or “ I don’t think it should be this far on the road” he would pull off, realize that it wasn’t the right place and try to find another spot. Finally, I figured, let me have a crack at it. I looked at the map and said, “well, there are a few places we could get to the lake; we just haven’t gone far enough.”
I know; what does this have to do with anything? I have seen in the few years I have been involved in youth ministry and church for that matter, every time I turn a corner, look at Instagram, attended a conference, or even open my email, we are overwhelmed in a very tactical way to get your ministry up to par with what’s happening in the world. To make sure that what you are doing is the right thing, the thing that will impact students, long term, short term, in our culture, and all the above. While I appreciate and champion the idea of being aware and consistently evaluating the direction of what we do in our ministries, God has placed us over; we must remain on course!
Eugene Peterson wrote a book with this title, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. While the context might not be the same, I believe there is truth for our application and God’s calling on us. Stay true to the call HE has placed on you. Be faithful and steward the deposit in you to fulfill the great commission. But don’t be afraid to stay the course, to be obedient to what God has in store for YOUR ministry. Utilize the resources for your church, your youth group that aligns with God’s vision for your flock’s needs.
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 ESV.
Trust in what God is doing and wants. Don’t let the fears along the way (which are valid) cause you to take the nearest exit because it doesn’t seem to be how you thought the road should look. Trust in an almighty God who spoke everything into existence to tell you where to go and how long to remain obedient in the direction He is leading you in.
Manny Hernandez is the Middle School Pastor at Calvary PHX