Ministry in the Years to come: The “Star Wars” effect

Another interesting article.  Even though I’m not actively in “ministry” at the moment, I often wonder how and where God wants to use me as I get older.  Then I realize it doesn’t matter how old I am, GOD is going to use me in a way i don’t comprehend, if I stay open and obediant

Ministry in the Years to come: The “Star Wars” effect

How do you feel about getting older in ministry? 

Do you anticipate it’ll be like the new Star Wars movie and the force will still be with you?

Will it be like when you go to bed exhausted and hear someone outside dribbling a basketball, about to have more fun into the night as you collapse into bed?

Might something hit you when you glance in the mirror before you get up to teach and find a grey or white hair, as if your body’s running out of toner?

Can it be stopped by reading Peter Pan over and over? (Never gets old, by the way.)

At some point, we all wonder what it’ll be like.

lukeBut then something happens…

It’s like how as a kid I always wanted to be “Luke Skywalker” whenever I played Star Wars with my friends. I identified with his youthful exploration of the world beyond his world.

That, and he had a sweet light saber.

This lasted for a long while, until one day I noticed Han Solo’s swagger. He looked Leia in the eyes without blinking. He’d confidently boast about his ship, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.”

I mean, who talks like that?

You do/will.

aging1There can come a day when you actually end up saying Han Solo-esque things about ministry, teenagers, church, and faith. You won’t even think about it – it’ll just bark out of you with bold, seasoned perspective.

I’ve done this in the presence of others. You should’ve seen the “Lukes” on their faces.

But then something happens…

You realize you are getting older in ministry.

Maybe things keep going well and you end up among your ministry heroes who surprisingly treat you like a peer. For a half-second, you wonder if you’ve “arrived” and should try to impress them. Thankfully, common sense and the Holy Spirit Jedi-mind trick you into being authentic.

Or perhaps instead things go sideways and you bounce around from church to church. No longer are you naive, which makes the hurt you experience that much harder because not only did they “know better,” but you “know better” and can’t believe you didn’t see it coming. You consider quitting and working at Home Depot for a steady paycheck, better hours and cleaner sanity.

But then something happens…

yodaBecause one day you find yourself speaking less like Han Solo and more like Yoda. It’s all a bit backward at times, but people pay attention to your insights (which sort of helps them overlook your quirks).

  • Perhaps they sit you in a conference room with their iThings and notebooks out to write down something you’re about to say.
  • Perhaps you sit in that Home Depot breakroom with spiritually lost people…and your hurt takes on purpose as you empathize and do Jesus-centered ministry among them.

What you are clear on is how crazy it is that people want to listen to you – especially because you’re feeling less defined by things you want to stand on a soapbox about and more by questions you’d like to explore with someone/anyone/everyone over waffles.

But then something happens…

Because that wasn’t how you planned on getting older in ministry.

savedYou thought that somehow after 10,000 hours of doing something you might become a phenom… someone who steps onto a big stage at big camps and big conferences. You wondered what it’d be like for others to think of you  as the best of the best of the best of the best, like Lebron, Tiger or Oprah.

Or maybe you didn’t plan on any of that and went the other way, underestimating what you’re capable of. You figured you’d find something in “year one” that worked and simply repeat it over and over and over and over every year after year after year after year. Your primary goals would become to run a program, employ a curriculum, redo a trip and not rock the boat.

Both plans are interesting, and both are often unconscious.

But then something happens…

Because you likely won’t get the paycheck of Lebron, Tiger or Oprah, but ministry in the years to come can produce something freakishly phenom about your walk with God, the quality of your character, your convictions about being a servant-leader and the way you exercise your calling to others around you.

Because you may plan on playing it safe, but ministry in the years to come will throw you into the trajectory of real people who really need Jesus… and you really have Him… and you really light up when you really share Him… and all you really know is you must really share Him, even if it really rocks the boat.

Because for everything you’ve learned, you find more joy in showing up forgetting it all and loving the next person you’re about to encounter.

aging2That may not be the way you planned on it a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

but then something happens.

How do you feel about getting older in ministry? 

Tony Myles

Tony Myles is a youth ministry veteran, author, speaker, volunteer youth worker and lead pastor of Connection Church in Medina, Ohio… and he really likes smoothies.

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