The following post was written by Jeff Pratt, Director of FUGE camps
When I was a lot younger I had the privilege of wrestling for the University of Kentucky. I had grown up in Lexington, Kentucky and every guy or girl that participated in a sport wanted to go to UK and represent the Big Blue. I finally had my chance and off to Kentucky I went. I, like any other young athlete, had high expectations, visions of what it would be like when I got there, and a clear picture of how the season would go.
Boy was I wrong. It was harder than I ever expected and everyone there was a state champion. About three weeks into the season I remember going to my dad and telling him I wanted to quit. I was tired of cutting weight, tired of the difficult workouts and very tired of the perceived favoritism that I thought existed.
My dad asked me a simple question: “Is it good?” I thought to myself, “Is it good? Is it good? Of course it’s not good! As a matter of fact, it stinks! It’s hard, school is hard and I am tired.” I simply responded, “No, it’s not.”
He didn’t ask for details, nor did he attempt to fix my problem. He told me to wait until things were good, and then tell him how I felt. He reminded me that anyone can quit when things are hard.
It is not uncommon for us to talk to youth pastors who are ready to throw in the towel. They will call our office or we will see them at camp or maybe even at a BETA conference and they are ready to give up. When we spend some time with them we hear of difficult circumstances, tough youth workers, broken relationships with their pastors and the feeling that their ministry is over. It’s funny, I have never had a youth pastor call me and say that they are baptizing students every month, have a great volunteer base and and relationship with their pastor, but they are ready to throw in the towel.
There will always be times when we want to call it quits. Ministry is hard because we have to deal with people and people have to deal with us. We live in a flawed world full of flawed people and it is easy to find ourselves in a pit, ready to walk away. I would challenge you with the same simple wisdom that was given to me– wait until things are good and see if you still feel like giving up. There will be times when you sense that your ministry is over and it is time to move on. Just make sure that when you sense that call, it is coming from the Holy Spirit and not from our defeated flesh looking for an easy way out.
Persevere in God’s grace and you will experience a level of ministry that you did not know existed. It will be a ministry that is only sustainable through the power of God’s grace. It is a point in ministry where we learn to operate in the spirit and not in the strength of the flesh. It is a level of ministry that God wants you to experience.
And if you are wondering, I didn’t quit wrestling. Dad was right. I pressed on and enjoyed a great freshman season wrestling for the Wildcats. Press on, and you will be glad that you did.