I once had a group of youth min majors ask me: “Does it get easier after college is over and I get a real job in Youth Ministry? What is the real world of Ministry like?”
I chuckled to myself and thought for a second (mainly to allow the suspense to build) and then I said something like this:
Imagine that every week of your life is like finals week; that you are being pulled and prodded in so many directions that you have lost track of “up” or “down.” Pulling an “all nighter” the day before a scheduled “All Nighter” is not entirely uncommon.
Imagine that in place of a failing grade or an “incomplete” on a final, that you receive a call from the elders for your resignation and the loss of your job.
Imagine that the difference between an A and a B is the critical judgment of potentially hundreds of people, mocking you behind your back at a Sunday Lunch at Applebee’s.
Imagine the reality that at any point a student can desperately, legitimately need you because of a catastrophe (real or perceived) in their life and you better react.
Understand that people die and you are the shoulder to cry on as time ticks away on your various projects.
You will never understand a 9-5 job, they will entice an bewilder you; one that ends at when you punch the clock. This job flows from the moment you wake up in the morning, until you close your eyes…..in the morning.
It is a world where each kid who gets mad at God for not performing as they would like, gets mad at you.
A world where inclement weather can destroy months of planning like rampaging bull in a china shop.
A world where parents punish their children by disallowing them from attending a retreat, or a camp and you personally paid for their $100 non-refundable registration fee because you knew it could be potentially life-changing for them.
A world where you will have to visit former students in prison; or pick them up or drop them off at crack houses.
A world where you stand between two kids with knives drawn ready to spill blood (both metaphorically and literally at times).
A world where you can spend thousands of hours pouring into them and they effortlessly turn their backs on God and you.
The real world of ministry is a tumultuous one.