There has been no doubt a “youth movement” in the church with church planting, church revitalization and missions. For this movement I am grateful. I have been part of that movement. Over ten years ago the Lord led us to be part of planting a church. At that point I was under the age of 30 and still in the process of discovering who I am and what I’m gifted at. The process of discovering, refining and being good at what one is wired to do can be fun and exciting or it can be hard and almost crippling. For me, this process has been somewhere in the middle of those two.
Maybe some of the “youth movement” have had no trouble finding their stride and getting the work done. Some have found finding their stride a challenge and some have quit altogether. I’m somewhere right in the middle.
Truthfully, what I have always wanted was to walk in the shadow behind some older, wiser, seasoned, loving, Barnabas kind of mentoring pastor who would help me be what I was made to be and show me how to do the work for the long haul, and didn’t fully understand that desire until it was blatantly obvious to me that I’m clueless. Perhaps I’m overstating my lack, but I’m just being truthful with how I perceive me.
Where are those men? It seems there has been a shortage of them. For whatever reasons, and I’m sure there are many, and maybe the reasons deserve some research, but older and wiser Barnabas type men seem to be missing from the ministry where I am. There are older men, but they are not necessarily multiplying themselves into younger men. Let me be super clear too. I have not sought that out in the past either. I’m sure if I asked someone they would have been that for me. So, I must take my share of the responsibility for not asking for that kind of help.
In the past year it has become evident that we needed older and wiser men to share the load of pastoral ministry and to give wisdom and counsel and mentorship. By God’s grace we sought out some older and wiser men. These men stepped up through some Holy Spirit led prayer and asking to serve and they have been a balm to the soul. These men not only serve, but they model what I want to be in wisdom, demeanor, decision-making, encouragement and grace. We all work and do our jobs outside of the church and don’t spend huge time together, but these men took major roles and model righteousness, holiness and wisdom, and I’m taking notes. These men do what they do well and excel at it and their example has caused me to want to be like them. These men provide a model to learn from while making the work doable. I’m thankful for them and the young men that have arisen along with them to learn as well.
Maybe the next “youth movement” will come not in younger men being on the tip of the spear but by older men leading the charge and the younger men learning and taking over as the older men hand over the role. I want to be one of those older men at some point and maybe that point is now.
All that to say, I’m thankful for the older men who seek to teach younger men how to be what they need to be. If you are older, take a younger dude under your wing and show him how to do what you do.
Thank you to those older men teaching me how to be what Father made me to be. I’m learning from you and want to continue to learn. I hope I can teach some younger men as the older men are teaching me.