Thinking of an #ahamoment is tough. Not in way of “I haven’t learned anything, I just am so great at everything I do.” No that certainly not it, I’m speaking more in terms of “I’ve learned so much and if you give me 3 more minutes I’ll probably learn something else.”
Most recently, I think I’ve finally learned that I can’t be all things to all people. That seems like an easy lesson I know, and it’s one that in theory I already knew, but I still thought I was the one who could.
At Monfort Heights, I wear a lot of hats. I’m the associate pastor. I’m the youth pastor. I’m the children’s pastor. I am something completely different to a 15 year old than I am to our 85 year olds. Each of them have different expectations for me, and I have different expectations of myself. Rarely are they the same.
One of the things that often throw me into this realization is what I call “small fires” that occur on Sunday mornings. One of these Sundays happened a few weeks ago. As I walk out of the early service, my eyes scan first to make sure the nursery opened as it should have while I was in service. My small fire began on this day when I realized that it had not. Then the following series of events unfolded.
-I opened the nursery, thinking furiously of people I could get to serve at the last minute.
-The first servant showed up and assured me that everything was under-control.
-I went to “man” a sign up table for a new after school program we have going on while simultaneously scanning for nursery helpers.
-The number of children in the nursery grew to an unusual amount, including 3 babies under the age of 1. I now needed 3 in the nursery.
-My best friend came to worship and pleaded with her to work the nursery and save me. She happily obliged. 2 down 1 to go.
I knew I needed to be in the nursery too, but that meant I needed a sub for the 9:45 Kids worship service, a worship service I didn’t have time to explain to anyone what I had planned.At the last minute, Dan told me he would love to help me and he could handle KIdsConnect. I went to the nursery, breathed, and basically got through that hour.
At the end of that hour, Dan came downstairs from the Children’s worship, looking as frazzled as I’ve ever seen him. I learned there has been 17 children in KidsConnect, 17 when our average number in that service is around 6.
Needless to say, my small fire grew into a big fire and though I apologized to many, I still am not sure what I could have done better. It was a beautiful mess. I could not be in 3 places at one time, and as hard as I tried to be. No one got my best, and in turn I stressed out others that were there to worship. It wasn’t my best moment.
I felt small. I felt like I had failed. But my #ahamoment that day was that our Lord is always bigger, always in control, and will use anything for His glory. Though we were all frazzled and exhausted, the prayer that I have been praying for a year had taken place. I used to pray that God would overwhelm our church with the joy of children. We were overwhelmed, and honestly- the kids had fun. Had I better relied on the church to be the church that morning, and not tried to take the control, we would have soared. For me, the first part of realizing that I couldn’t be all things to all people was the understanding that the people that make up the church make my job all that it is; especially when I encourage them to allow God to work through their gifts.
This blog done in conjunction with Refresh 12: a monthly blogging initiative for young clergy in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church.