Ten years ago I was a rookie in the world of ministry. I was wet behind the ears and green to the gills. Today, in no way do I consider myself a veteran in ministry but I am one of the oldest youth leaders in the area at the young age of 32. I recently attended a monthly meeting where the regional youth directors gathered to learn and share with one another. I only recognized about half of the faces in the room. The rest of the people were young, female interns. When the leader asked us to get into small groups for discussion, I moved my chair across the room to bless the interns with my presence. It was obvious that they were young and needed a mentor. It should probably be me.  Well, if you’ve ever been in a small group of 20-something college girls, you probably couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Neither could I. How was I suppose to say wise things if they weren’t going to listen? I was forced to take the silent route and observe while listening to their incessant chattering.

They lamented about the youth board and the pastoral staff while arguing over whose vicar was…cuter?  Finally, after 20 minutes of ignoring the “old guy,” a young motor-mouth looked at me and asked politely, “Sir, do you have anything to share?” Uh… Did she just call me what I think she did? Did she call me the “S” word? I was stunned, shocked and surprised. When did I become a “sir?” Three seconds of silence went by.  They immediately dismissed me and dove into another gale force of gossip. I couldn’t talk then, but today I am calm and composed so be quiet and listen up. School is in session.

A Youth Board or Church Council can be an overwhelming presence. But remember this, they care just as much (sometimes more) about the congregation as you do. These are some of the most passionate people inside the church’s four walls. When they speak as a whole, drink it in and understand what they are saying.  Strive for mutual respect and understanding while keeping the main thing the focus: Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  But be careful, because individuals on a board or council can run you ragged. If individuals are whispering into your opposite ears, thank them for their input and encourage them to share their feelings at the next meeting where we can experience a controlled conversation and majority vote.

The Pastor is a gift from God regardless of your rookie opinion. Are pastors perfect? No. Do they claim to be?  Maybe. Is there a vast amount of information that you can learn from one another? Absolutely. Take joy in the discussion and always ask yourself the question, “What is God trying to teach me?” There will always be something more to learn and consider. Ultimately, the Office of the Pastor earns respect, regardless of who may be filling it.

Finally, your Vicar is not cute.

Class dismissed.