Let me begin by letting you know that you don’t know it all. however, many of us think that we do, and i am not just talking about the early years in our ministry but also as we move along. Gary Cohen writes in his book, Just Ask Leadership, “Leaders have to get over themselves and admit they can’t know it all.” man, are those some words of wisdom. i am speaking from experience. not from the experience of knowing it all but from that of thinking that i knew it all.
early in my years as an intern with Cobb i always thought that i was young and hip enough to have the edge of being fresh in ministry, with ideas that had not yet been seen. i was under the impression that we the talent and drive that God gave me (in my own mind, anyway) i already knew enough to take any ministry to new heights, and with little to no help at that! boy was i wrong... really, really wrong.
as i learned the hard way over the next couple of years that there was tons about ministry that i did not yet know and understand, much of it could have been fatal to my career as a youth guy. there were a lot of mistakes that i made over the course of that first season that my homies, who were also in youth ministry and green to the game, also made - but it jacked them up and ended up ending their ministries. the only difference between me and them was that i had Cobb as a mentor and superior to take the brunt of most of my stupidness. it was the difference maker for me in my ministry.
after some time of screwing up and Cobb covering my butt, i began to realize that if i listened to him and stopped trying to do things the hard way - on my own - that it would make life a lot easier. however, since i was young i still had to struggle through my own pride. He knew it and he told me often in our times together. but he never made me feel bad or that i was a jerk - although much of the time i was. he gently instructed me and helped me to see the stuff i needed to, knowing that if he continually put time into me that i would eventually be successful.
now, years later i can look back and see the times when i should have listened to him. he and i actually talk about those instances and laugh, mostly, about my younger years in ministry and how i was growing. and believe me, there were many growing pains in those years... for both Cobb and I. I had them - and he had to deal with them. I am so glad that he did not just dump me into the grease like he should have so many times. he always stuck by me and if it was not for him i would not have made it through.
so for all of you young peeps out there in the beginning years of ministry, listen to your mentor and do what he or she tells you to. it will save you a lot of hard lessons learned and for your mentor it will save a bunch of premature grey hair. you do not know it all. in fact, in just chillin’ with Cobb in the last week i realize that i continually need to seek his advice and guidance as i move on in ministry. the more i know, the more i realize i will always know less than i need to, and that is why i cling to my mentors... do you?