Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
Job evaluations – a necessary but not usually pleasant part of the job. If we don’t get our ego and pride all wrapped up in what is said there are things we can learn and growth can come. In Matthew 23 Jesus evaluated the ministry of the relation rulers of His day. It wasn’t a very good evaluation they received. We read those verses and cheer, smug in the knowledge that we are so much better than they. However when we do that we miss all opportunity to learn from the things Jesus was trying to teach them. Discipleship Journal in 1998 suggested some ways Jesus’ words apply to church leaders today. I have adapted some of what they wrote to apply to youth pastors as well.
1. Does my behavior match my teaching? (Matthew 23:2-3)
We know the religious rulers in Jesus’ day were hypocrites, but do we not some times do the same thing? Are we as faithful in our devotions, in our witnessing, in our prayer time and in our Christian living as we tell our teens to be? Do we talk or act differently at home or alone than we are with others in the church?
2. Do I lay heavy loads on my followers? (Matthew 23:4)
Are we always expecting more and more of them with the result that they feel they never do enough? Are our expectations for attendance, helping, bringing others, etc., unrealistic? Are we concerned about how others will see us and our ministry and so we expect a lot from our followers to make us look good?
3. Am I trying to impress people? (Matthew 23:5-12)
Do we find little ways to make sure the senior pastor and others know just what we are doing? Do we act in ways to impress our teens so they will think well of us? Are we always counting attendance and wishing for greater numbers?
4. Do I delight when my pupils surpass me? (Matthew 23:13)
Am I glad to see a teen or youth leader surpass me in Bible knowledge, prayer, worship, etc.? Or do I feel threatened and find little ways to best them?
5. Am I molding people in my image or Christ’s? (Matthew 23:15)
Does it feed my ego when those in my group act or talk like me? Am I doing more to promote myself or Jesus? Am I developing followers of myself or of Jesus? What would happen if I left, would my sheep keep on growing as they have been, or would they possible fade?
6. Am I majoring on the minors? (Matthew 23:23)
Over the past year have my teens gained a good overall of the whole Bible or do we find ourselves covering the same few favorite topics again and again? If so, are those topics the heart and core of the gospel or peripheral issues?
7. Am I keeping up appearances to cover up sin in my own life? (Matthew 23:25-28)
Do I have private habits that I wouldn’t want others to know about? Do I cover up sin in my life, make excuses for it, or in any way live a double life?
8. Do I consider myself superior to others? (Matthew 23:30-36)
Do I look down on others who aren’t as “committed” as I am? Do I feel special because I am on staff or in the ministry? Do I expect special consideration or privileges because of who I am?
If Jesus would evaluate you and your ministry as He did that of the religious rulers, which of these would you fail? Spend some time reading Matthew 23 just for your own growth and not for lesson preparation. What would Jesus say to you through these words? Prayerfully consider these questions, with an open heart, and let Jesus help you become more like Him in your life and ministry.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on November 2, 2009