Do you pray? Are you engaged in the practice of other spiritual disciplines? Are they central to your ministry and efforts? Or are they something you turn to when no other option remains?
These questions are not meant to be condemning or an attempt to sound like a spiritual elitist. I know I'm guilty of not praying, fasting, etc., as much as I could (or should). I think it has something to do with the kind of schedules we keep - often quite busy, yet consistently inconsistent.
College ministers, like most other kinds of ministers, can easily fall into the trap of living lives filled with the 'doing' of ministry, while neglecting to 'be' an intentional Christ-follower.
Again, strong words - I know, but what I mean is that we can get so wrapped up in doing all of the things that we are called to do as pastors and servants of college students - really good stuff like:
- leading worship services
- leading Bible studies
- counseling students
- sharing Christ
- facilitating service and mission opportunities
- investing in student leaders
- investing in professional staff
- watching the budget
- caring for facilities
- preparation - for ALL of the above
- and the list could go on and on and on...
that we then allow ourselves to schedule over the time that we should be focused on tending to OUR own relationship with Jesus (the 'being' a Christ-follower).
Without the INTENTIONAL time we spend investing in our own personal relationship with Jesus, the list above can move from a list of opportunities to express our love for God and others - out of the abundance He is doing in our own lives - to a list of ministry tasks that feel a lot more like a job for a company - and Jesus is the CEO.
The ongoing self-leadership, and soul-care, of those of us who lead college students is SO important. I believe we have nothing to really offer students if it doesn't come from Jesus. If this is true, than we had better be intentional to carve out space in our lives to pursue Him in earnest with consistency and sincerity.
We cannot expect students to become passionate followers of Jesus Christ if we - as their leaders - are not ourselves.
I have the chance today to be a part of a unique prayer event for college students, and the of us who serve them, put on by the great folks from College Union and The Upper Room. Today's event is a precursor to a 40 day prayer event that will happen in conjunction with the beginning of the new school year in the fall. You can read more about that here. If you're interested in checking out today's event you can catch up with us here - as the event is being streamed live on the web. If you've got some time I really encourage you to check it out!
I'm excited about today. Excited to be with colleagues of similar heart and mind, to spend the day learning about prayer and praying with others about college students, college ministry and for all of us who serve in this great field.
I am challenged this morning to be all the more intentional in my pursuit of Jesus. To make sure that He - and not me - is central to the ministry I'm a part of on campus. Students can see through fake.
What do you think?
Do you struggle with a schedule so full of 'doing' ministry that it leaves little time for you to simply 'be' with Jesus in any intentional way?
Is YOUR ongoing spiritual formation a priority for you?
Is a lack of attention to your personal relationship with Jesus stunting your ministry with students?
I'd love to hear what you think!
[Be sure to take this week's poll over in the sidebar - it will only by open a couple more days]