When I decided to change my major to Xtian Ministry and make it a vocation I had my mind set. I would go into youth ministry for a while and then move on to be a senior pastor. You know, I would kinda use the youth thing as a stepping stone. But God would have a little bitt different path for me. I did not know what I was in store for in my career as a pastor.
One of the conversations that Cobb and I would have every once in a while would be the “where do you see yourself in the long haul” conversation. I thought nothing of it. I knew what I wanted and the plan that I had for the next ten or more years. But Cobb knew something that I did not, apparently. He would casually ask me the “why” question. He wanted to know why I was thinking whatever I was thinking at the time. He never presumed to know what I was thinking nor did he try to make me think a certain way. He would just challenge me often on what was going on in that little brain of mine.
I never knew why I thought that about why I wanted to be a Senior Pastor, I just figured that is the way that it was supposed to go. I knew that I loved spending time with teenagers and peeps who wanted to make teens better and more involved with church and God. But I thought that is what everyone was thinking. One day Cobb asked me why I wanted to be the leader of a parish and I thought about it for a minute. I could not think of anything else except for that I figured that was the way it was supposed to be. Then he gave me one of the classic Cobb challenges.
He asked me what my life might look like if I choose to stay in youth ministry for the long haul. Wow! I had never even thought of it. In fact, I knew I would never do that... I mean, that is not how it is supposed to be. But why not??? we began to talk more about it over a number of conversations. It took me about three more years to come to the realization that I thought that is the way God was leading me – to youth ministry for the long haul. This of course lead to more questions. Was I turning off God in my earlier conversations with him; to which the answer was “no.” it just took God a little while longer to get through to a stubborn punk like me.
I still talk to Cobb about career stuff today. At one point I even asked how long he had known that I was fighting my heart concerning my ministry for the long haul. He just smiled. Never say never. Your ministry could be going a direction that you don't even know about right now. Trust your instinct, yes. But also trust the words and encouragement of those you trust to speak into your life. Will I be a senior pastor someday? I don't know... maybe. But right now my heart is focused on bringing students to know JC better, and building into those who have the same passion. What is the direction of your passion.