After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples– Acts 18:23.
When I think about Paul and his ministry, how he traveled from church to church training, equipping, and occasionally putting his foot down when a church was messing up (1 Cor. 5:1-2), I immediately start thinking about the last eight years of ministry in my life as an interim youth pastor (a mentor).
My goal as an interim youth pastor is to help the church by establishing or building upon their current youth ministries by coming alongside the leadership and providing the vital training needed. The time frame would range anywhere from 6 months to a year depending on the needs of the youth ministry and church.
Once the leadership is trained and the youth ministry is functioning according to God’s principles, and not like an amusement park or glorified babysitting service, I then begin to transition out. And the process begins all over again with another church in need.
As an interim youth pastor I’ve had a unique perspective into the life of many church youth ministries. Like Paul, I’ve had an inside view from the outside and it’s been a great learning experience for me. Think of it like an artist. When an artist is painting a large mural he spends much of his time up close and personal with his paints and the media, but occasionally, in order to see everything going on, he needs to step back so he can see the bigger picture.
While your church may not be in need of an interim youth pastor, have you ever considered allowing God to bring someone, a mentor, in to give you an honest evaluation of your youth ministry from the outside looking in? Would you be open to stepping back from the painting with someone by your side asking God; “How does it look?”
Paul traveled from place to place strengthening all the disciples, and as an interim youth pastor I’ve learned the benefits of having someone take an honest look at the whole picture to evaluate the overall spiritual health of a youth ministry. By doing so we can be reminded that the painting is not ours, but rather God’s, and that we’re only a brush in the hand of an awesome God.