Wednesday, October 4, 2017
This month began my 35th year in summer camping as my ministry. As I look back I recognize that Christian ministry is not a “happily ever after” fairy tale, but more of an adventure—fraught with dangers, losses, sadness, incredible events and the absolute unknown. Truly, I have never had a single summer where I was certain that I would have another summer! There are so many variables in operating an international, non-denomination, co-ed, sports camp that it is constantly an act of faith to start the next season.
Being in ministry is not for the faint of heart, I suppose, but I don’t recall being taught that in seminary. Sometimes when you apparently do all the right things, life can still be an amazing challenge for your very survival.
But I am aware that it is not what I have accomplished that matters, but instead how He has used me—-even in my self-inflicted wounds, errors and blunders—to draw attention unto Him. The greatest challenge for the ones called to pastor or lead a camp is, I think, to lose sight of Him, and focus too steadily on “accounts payable”, attendance at church, the annual tally of contributions, etc.
As I look back I would never have chosen to have a career of such incredible uncertainty, frustration, disappointments and vulnerability. But I cannot imagine any adventure that I will be able to look back upon, when the journey is over, that made better use of my God-given gifts, talents and preparation than in being where I am right now.
The Christian journey is not a fairy tale, or made for one that prefers to stay far from the “front lines” of battle, it is an adventure, of highs and lows, of breathtaking beauty and almost unbearable desolation. The Christian minister, pastor, camp director, priest or missionary that can feel at times absolutely abandoned, totally misunderstood and unfairly judged. But those are the very times when He reminds you that He will never leave you, that he completely understands and He esteems you as His own.