The following was a blog post I wrote in 2008 that got over 50 comments. I thought I would repost it 5 years later. I still feel the same. What are your thoughts? Read what I wrote:
Wait. Hold the phone. Don’t crucify me, yet. Allow me to share with you my heart and where I’m headed with that title. I’ll tell you my thoughts on seminary and continued education later on, if you stick to the end. If you don’t read this whole blog and say something mean, you’ll probably look like a jerk.
Our Worship & Arts department has 5 interns. 2 college students and 3 Dallas Theological Seminary students. 4 of them I get to spend time with and invest in. 3 of them I spend a little more one on one time with. 2 really get the most from me and 1 is someone I spend a lot of time with – my intern and friend, Jonathan Moon, who I’ve referred to before on this blog.
Jonathan graduates from college this year with a degree in Cinema and Television. Am I encouraging him to join our staff at Bent Tree? No. Why? Because that would be selfish of me and short-sighted. Yes, he could continue to crank out video projects for our church, but the truth is we can find someone else to create videos.
Jonathan’s passion and dream is to be a producer in Hollywood. So, as his boss and mentor, what do I do? I push him out the door. We are a sending church. I’m constantly saying, “When you’re in LA…”, “When you change Hollywood…”, “When are you going to visit and stay with my friend, Cynthia Ware and spend some time with my friend, Phil Cooke?”
Enough about me, my intern and our situation. Here’s what I’ve felt and thought through for YEARS:
Why is it when we see a young man or woman that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit, has a solid prayer life, devours the Bible, clearly walking with God and “on fire” we automatically say, “You need to go ‘into the ministry’?” Our warped view of “ministry” means that they go to Bible college and/or seminary and become a preacher, minister or missionary.
Do we need current and future preachers, ministers and missionaries? Absolutely. Hear me out. I’ve just seen too many people over the years that were “on fire”, but were called to something in “the secular world” – only to be looked down upon and shamed because they didn’t go “into the ministry”. Shame on us.
Here’s what we need, folks: We need Christian, Spirit-led, God-fearing, prayerful young men and women to go into Hollywood, classrooms/education, hospitals, military, law and law enforcement and dare I say: politics. I grew up hearing that all politictians were crooked, evil and dirty. That may be true for some, but it doesn’t have to be true for all. Why can’t we send Spirit-filled, Godly, prayerful youth into our government?
Do you see what I’m getting at? All of this must be sought after with prayer. I’m not saying go here or there – listen to God. What I am saying is to not assume that those leaders in your youth group are destined to “ministry” and should head to seminary. Maybe their ministry will be outside the local church. Maybe they are being raised up to change the face of government/politics, movies and Hollywood, education, the medical field and our military. Just maybe.
For the record: I guest speak and teach at colleges and seminaries. I’m pursuing my PhD. I’m all for continued education, learning and personal/professional growth. I just think we need to see “ministry” more holistically and broader than just being on a church staff.
Dream with me:
- What if Christians were shaping what we watch on TV and movie screens? I’m not talking about Christian shows or movies (don’t get me started on that). I’m talking about Christians making movies that are not offensive and have a spiritual/redemptive thread woven through them. Deep stuff like CS Lewis was a genius at.
- What if Christian youth went to law school, became an attorney and joined IJM and started helping to literally free slaves???
- What if a sold-out Christian became a pediatrician, hospice nurse, surgeon? I’ll never forget going into surgery 2 years ago and my surgeon asking if he could pray for me before the surgery. I’ll never forget going into surgery 9 years ago and the anesthelogist singing hymns as he was prepping me. What a witness!
- I don’t need to tell you the stats of kids, the lack of a father figure/single parent homes, abusive homes and unhealthy situations. Think of them being able to build a healthy relationship with a Christian teacher.
- What if we had Christian scientists and researchers that marry their brains with their morals and ethics?
- What? What? What? Do you ever just dream? Dream of what the world could be?