On three different occasions, I have had the responsibility of being the youth minister at a church. Twice, I was an associate pastor tasked with youth and worship ministry, the other time I was the pastor and took on the role of youth leader to get things started. In all three of these occasions, I was reminded of something: I’m not good at it. I didn’t connect well to youth when I was one, and I haven’t really learned anything different since to help me with figuring that out. It’s like a language that I can’t seem to read or understand but occasionally have to find some way of navigating.
I think youth work is only one among many other things like that in the life of a church that people look at and say, “Huh?” For each of us, there are things within the life of the church that we feel are far beyond our abilities and comfort. I have recently heard of the idea of “staying in your lane” as way of saying, stick to what you are good at or capable of. And yet, there are always those who are capable among the congregation with the talent and ability to do what needs doing, even when we are not. Paul talks about this in 1 Corinthians 12 when he says,
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. – (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)
So, does that absolve us of having to do anything with ministry outside our comfort zone and abilities? Nope. We are still tasked with the responsibility of being supporters and encouragers to those who work in areas of ministry outside of our own. When we can’t practice a ministry, we can be present to support the activities. When we don’t know how to do something, we can help those that do with whatever assistance they need. We can always take part in the work of the kingdom by supporting one another in the work each of us does. While we do not all have the same spiritual gifts, we are all tied to the same Spirit. Be a means of support for all ministry in the church that all the work of the Kingdom can thrive.