Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How do you minister?

Who is your role model?

Who do you look up to?

Who has been there for you through thick and thin?

Who calls you out on the stupid things you do and is honest with you, but in that caring way, you know?

Who is your mentor?

Sometimes using that word is not the one we choose to use when we think about this stuff.  A lot of times we choose not to even really think these things.  Because these deep emotional thoughts and feelings reveal vulnerability…and that is something that is just not accepted in today’s society.

But actually think about it. 

Think of someone who you would consider a mentor…

Maybe you are thinking of one person maybe you are thinking of a couple.

I think of a lot of different people.  At various times in my life when I needed someone there, someone always seemed to be there.  More often than not, I didn’t even know it.  But looking back I am so grateful of all of them.

Can you think back to times like that, when you felt like everything was going wrong and you didn’t’t know where to turn, and out of nowhere someone is there.  It can and more often than not is just a tiny little gesture that helps in a big big way. 

I have been very very blessed and fortunate to have wonderful Youth Ministers growing up.  Paul Canady, Trone Sawyer, Beth Powell, Katie Brownyard, John Burruss, and many others that I knew through various events around the Diocese.  Many of whom I remain dear friends with to this day.  And am now colleagues with these people that I looked up for so long!

One person who has always seemed to be there and have the right thing to say, even when that thing may not have been what I wanted to hear, is Trip Gintz.  Many of you may know him from St. John’s or from Episcopal Day Camp.  As a youngster, I remember being in 6th grade and going on a rafting trip with Trip (ha, trip with Trip) with him as my leader.  About two years ago he asked me to chaperone a mission trip to the Gulf of Mexico with him.  I made the mistake of letting him know that going into Youth Ministry was something that I had been considering.  I had gone from youth, to more like a student.  We are now peers.  Colleagues.  Soon we will be planning another rafting trip…together.

That’s a pretty neat story Matthew, but what’s the point.

When I was in 6th grade, I never thought that these experiences would have such a lasting impression on me.  When I was I confused 22 year old who had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and you casually say, “Yea, I mean I’ve thought about it.” When asked about youth ministry, I seriously doubt Trip thought the simple gesture of asking me to chaperone would confirm, answer, and raise many many questions about my future.  All these things seem like such random events but in the long they all come together and make us who we are.  Everything that happens has an effect on us and slowly shapes us and molds into the people that we will become.

Now think back to those people that you said are your mentors.  Those are the people that are shaping who you are.  You may not even realize it.  Perhaps it has already happened and you don’t even know it.

Want to hear the scary part…

Somewhere out there, someone is looking up to you as a mentor.  Kind of makes you think twice about how you treat everybody, doesn’t it?

Someone out there, someone is looking up to you, as a mentor, a role model…

How are you mentoring to them?  You can be a positive influence or a negative one.   That is called ministering.

Normally we think a minister is just someone with a collar.  But you my friend, are a minister as well.  A definition for a minister is a person serving as an agent for another…

We are all ministers.  Everyone of us.  You may be a positive role model in someone’s life or may be treat someone poorly and talk about them behind their back.  Either way you are ministering to them.  Good or bad, you are ministering.

How are you ministering to others?

You never know, it may mean more to others than you would ever think.

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