I don’t care what you think, go love on a minister.

I just wrapped up my 10th year on staff at Camp Zenith at Oklahoma Christian University and we had a fantastic week. This is one of the few camps that I have been to that create an environment where students can really focus on God and keep distractions to a minimum.

I love this camp because of the many relationships I have on staff. These guys have hung in with their youth groups and churches for so many years and seen several generations of youth go through their ministries, being faithful to each and every group. I see ministers who have moved on to new churches, but maintain relationships with students from their old youth groups. This is a really cool place.

Yet this year I experienced things from a new angle. For the first time in 10 years, I didn’t come to camp as a youth minister, but as more of a resource guy with Teen Lifeline. Since I didn’t have to manage a youth group or interns, I had some time to just watch other ministers and how they dealt with things.

To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with full-time church work. Some of my best friends are ministers and I was one for 8 1/2 years. I loved the many opportunities I had to serve and love on teenagers. I loved the relationships I built that will last a lifetime.

But in many ways I hate it and really feel bad for the guys who do the job. In so many ways, ministry is an impossible job. I talked to guys who had to juggle the political messes of their churches with the passion and heart God gave them to push their teenagers in to a radical and counter-cultural relationship with Jesus. Many want to break the shackles free from their students on issues of worship and tradition, but they are unable to find the ways to free themselves first without risking their job.

Ministry is so, so hard.

And I feel for my friends.

As I thought about the final verse in our reading from Galatians, I think about the shackles of “law” we impose on ourselves and the others around us. While we would never say it, we act as if the traditions of our local church congregations are some kind of law that everyone should respect. The problem with that is, ministers have to tow that line while also calling students to a relationship with Jesus in the midst of a church whose traditions they want no part of.

Ministry is so, so hard.

And I feel for my friends.


So this weekend, I proclaim a Sacred Margins “Love your Minister” weekend. Instead of heaping more stress on your ministry staff, why don’t you try giving something to them? Take their family out to lunch. Babysit their kids. Sit down and ask them how they are doing. Thank them for loving on your kids and family. Value them.

In other words, treat them like people.

These women and men and their families are serving you. They really are. Find some new and creative way to serve them back this weekend and tell them how much you love them.

Then, do it again.

And again.

And again.

What do you think about this? We would love your feedback in the comment section. Also, tell us how you plan to care for a minister this weekend.

2 thoughts on “I don’t care what you think, go love on a minister.

  1. I whole heatedly agree! I don’t think we can love and support our ministers enough but that shouldn’t keep us from trying! What are some of the ways people helped and encouraged you all as ministers and minister families?

    • Really the main thing that has encouraged us is people who would befriend us and get to know us as “The Robeys” and not just as one of the ministry staff. Sometimes it can feel like you are just an employee and it feels great to have folks care about what goes on in your day to day. Thanks for reading and responding!

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