Continued From Part 1: Poor Theology Many of us in ministry feel like there is an unrealized call on our lives. I know, at least for me, I have certain things God has put in my heart to do and to be. Most of them have to do with my local context and some have a larger scope.
What I have noticed is that there is some poor theology, laziness, and fear of failure that justifies why I am stagnate in my professional development and not living into the larger dream God has put in my life. In my last post I looked at poor theology, and this post I will examine how laziness is a huge deterrent from running after our dream.
Laziness: We live in an instant gratification society. Everything in our world is about getting a quick buck and becoming instantly famous. We want to graduate from college or seminary and land a $100,000 a year job. We are called and gifted and should work within our strengths. We want to be high level managers without working through the ranks.
A few years ago I had a conversation with a recent college grad who had a huge heart for ministry and amazing gifts for it as well. She wanted to pour her lives into high school girls. She really only wanted to do the deep relational work of youth ministry. There was no space for things like games, middle school boys, parents, logistics, etc. What I didn't have the heart to tell her is that her passions lined up perfectly with a volunteer youth worker. But what I did tell her is that the kind of job she dreams about having is a great dream. But that job happens down the road in ministry. You have to pay your dues, take jobs that are not ideal, do tasks that are boring and uninspiring. But if you swim in the right pond, then you have a real opportunity to work towards the dream job in ministry, whatever that takes. The one thing it will for sure take is hard work and effort.
I am sad to admit that I enjoy the show American Idol. It is everyone's dream, including mine, that someone will come across my amazing talent and promote me to the top of my field. But after 10+ seasons with thousands and thousands of contestants, only 2 have really become famous. That is because there is a rule that works again this get famous quick dream. It is the rule of 10,000 hours.
Malcolm Gladwell sites this study in his book Outliers where he argues that people at the top of their field got there because they had put in a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice. He sites famous musicians, writers, artists, programmers, all got there through hours and hours of practice. His two most interesting examples were Bill Gates and The Beatles.
To be the top of your field in wherever you are called takes intentional time and hard work. Writing a few blogs, speaking at a couple of camps, running a stable youth ministry, that is easy. You are naturally gifted, and your gifts and calling can get you pretty far, but to take any of those things to the next level take hours and hours of intentional practice, evaluation, and more practice. Here is a plan to do that. Seth Godin has another take here. Either way it takes some smarts and lots of hard work.
Besides the 10,000 hours we need to put in, we also must come to terms with our genuine obstacles. Personally, you might not have enough education or experience, or your skill set might be lacking. In your local context, the obstacles might be the number of students, the health of our church, or our budget. In a larger context it might be your lack of connections and opportunities. Obstacles are called obstacles because they are things that interrupt the easy and natural flow. Everyone has them, and it simply takes time and effort to overcome them.
All of us are willing to work hard in the short term if there are instant benefits. But if we are truly going to run after our dream, our true calling, then we have to get to work. The "poor me" card gets old really fast, and un-checked envy causes deep seeded resentment and bitterness. The kings in their respected fields all got there partly because they have some amazing gifts and used their connections, but mostly, they got there through an incredible work ethic.
If we are going to be who God has called us to be, then we must work hard! It is a crime to think that simply updating your facebook, collecting friends on twitter, and reading a bunch of books and blogs about going after it, will somehow result in you living into the vision God himself has put in your heart. If you are going to go after it, then you MUST get off the couch, wake up earlier, come up with a plan and begin to work it out.
Today is a great day to started!