You know how when you get married, people ask you the same question every time they see you? Being an interim youth pastor is kind of like that. Every time I talk with someone, the same question comes up, and I have the same rehearsed response. “Have they found a new youth pastor yet?” “Nope, still me!” 🙋
I’m not at all offended. I hope they find and hire a new youth pastor probably even more than the average person does, and my role was always supposed to be a temporary “until” role. But something about saying “still me!” over and over started to get to me.
You see, although I cannot claim to know the plan of God (at all), I keep finding myself stuck in this place of only seeing one reason it’s still me. Of course, I know all the practical reasons (“The last youth pastor left at a weird time of the year to hire a new one”, “There is a shortage of youth pastors right now”, “They’re really looking for a specific type of someone”), but I don’t believe that any of these are stopping God. God isn’t limited by these humanly factors, and God certainly wasn’t surprised by the timing of our old pastor’s departure, so I’m left knowing that God could’ve very easily had someone lined up ready to go the next day (or even the next week). But it’s been almost four months now, and it’s still me.
The only conclusion I can come to (and it’s a wild one), is that God wants it to still be me. ME! Of all people. I’m not sure why; I certainly don’t have the credentials, the experience, or the qualifications, and the students can attest that I am stumbling my way through it. But if God didn’t want it to be me, then I wouldn’t still be here, you know?
God is not surprised by our circumstances, He doesn’t make accidents in His timing or His plan, and He always is at work in our lives. So again, I’m left thinking that the only reason there is not a new youth pastor is because God still wants me here.
And I don’t think it’s because I have anything special or revolutionary or even that great to offer the students. I know that He will work in their lives with or without me. But instead of it being about what I can give to the students, I think God is making it about what He can give to me. That He has things that He wants me to learn, ways He wants me to see differently, things He wants me to grow in, and ways He wants to bless me.
I am still praying they find another youth pastor, and soon! But my attitude has changed from considering myself an accidental fill-in to considering that God knows exactly what’s going on and that currently, He seems very content to keep me right where I am (so I better get my act together). Yes, it’s still me, and that is not an oversight on God’s part, it’s purposeful.
What things in your life have the word “still” attached? Still single, still in this job, still in this place, still waiting on God? God is not surprised that you’re “still” there and I don’t think these “stills” are all arbitrary. If God has you somewhere (whether you think you should “still” be there or not), it is not an accident.
Our church’s youth pastor? Still me.
In awe of God’s timing, plan, purpose, and attention to detail in our lives? Still me.
“Who knows if perhaps you were made [interm youth pastor] for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:14