Many people graduate Bible college with a sense of invincibility.
It begins quite harmlessly. With a deep sense of satisfaction that comes from achieving a goal. Granted, this has taken serious commitment, time and energy.
However, soon after graduation, it moves into a feeling of arrival.
It’s this belief that we have arrived that causes us to close the door to many people around us. The first year student who listened intently to the instruction of older brothers in church leadership has gone.
Now that we’ve graduated, we know better. We can do this on our own. We got this!
I know, because I have experienced it first hand.
Furthermore, As I’ve spoken with other pastors and church leaders, they almost always agree. Usually shaking their head and laughing to themselves, almost embarrassed at the reminder.
Bible college provides an incredible amount of Biblical understanding. Most graduates feel empowered to go revolutionise the church.
Nevertheless, we’re jaded.
Once we arrive into our first vocational ministry position, we experience people who don’t validate how awesome we think we are.
We recite the first part of 2 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,” but neglect the second piece of the verse: “…but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (4:12)
We’re energetic and full of Biblical knowledge, but we’re also young and inexperienced.
This combo often causes us to act in a very arrogant manner.
This is the point where I need to apologise.
To all the people in my life, who continued to work with me during those years. (Perhaps, I’m still in those years?) Please forgive me for my arrogance and lack of patience.
I assure you, these behaviours came out of a place of passion and love for the church as a whole. I just didn’t know how to work that out within the real world, church setting. I wasn’t adequately prepared.
To those who plan on getting into full-time ministry.
As you study and debate theology, discipleship and evangelism; remember that the company you are currently with will not be coming with you.
Once you obtain your first full-time position, be open to the challenges that you will be faced with.
You will have elders who take a slower approach to church life than what was explained in your church leadership class. Learn how to push them without exasperating them.
You’ll have attenders who just realised the connection between the Old and New Testaments. This means your study series on Hebrews just took a serious rabbit trail. Embrace it and find satisfaction in where they’re experiencing wonder.
Clearly, that 5-year study outline wasn’t as God ordained as you may have felt.
Remember to be authentic.
It’s okay to not have all the answers. I know that Bible college empowered you to be the expert in Scripture and spiritual guidance. Yet, we’re all fallen individuals.
We all have sin in our lives.
Admit it. Own it. Talk about it. Deal with it.
By hiding it away, it will fester and grow into something that will ultimately take you down!
At that moment, you will look back and wish you had spoken to someone. You will mourn the loss of your ministry and do anything to get it back.
Prevent that from happening.
Talk about your struggles as much as your victories. The people in your church will get disheartened if all you do is win. It makes them feel like failures. It sets you up to be perfect. (Which you know isn’t true.)
This will ultimately lead to disappointment.
Where appropriate, validate their challenges in life by sharing some of yours. Instead of always having the answers, bring them along on the journey of discovering answers.
Through accountability, study and prayer; arrive at those victories together.
If you don’t already have one, actively seek out a mentor.
By a mentor, I do not mean someone who will agree with everything you say or do.
A mentor is someone who loves you enough to give you bad news.
Meet with them regularly and allow them to have an open door into your deepest thoughts and struggles. Let them help you carry the burden of full-time ministry.
Let them join you in prayer intercession over the dark forces that want to take you out.
Have you or someone you know attended Bible college? What was the difference in behaviour before and after graduating? What has been your experience as a whole, with young pastors or ministry leaders?