This past Saturday, an event took place at our church (where I am the youth pastor). It was an event that I really wasn’t excited about and didn’t want to be a part of. But, being the youth pastor, I was sort of forced into it. Let me explain.
A few months ago, a lady in the church came up to me telling me that she really wanted to get Jami Smith to come to our church and do an event for the youth. Jami leads a worship band that goes around the country leading worship at youth camps, retreats, conferences, etc. She’s quite talented and I love her songs and have no problem with her and the career that she has. My problem aat first was twofold: 1.) I had been at the church for about a month and didn’t know if this was a good idea because I didn’t know the students yet, and 2.) I am highly against putting on an event just because someone plays the guitar well, sings great, and writes good songs. I have some theological misgivings about building an event around a person, no matter who they are. So, I told the lady that I’d think about it, but there’s no way we could do it in the very near future. I didn’t hear from her for a while and thought she had forgotten about it.
Then a few months later, she came and talked to the pastor about it and told him how much it would cost. He said there was no way that the church would be able to cover close to the cost of the event. If it was going to happen, she was going to need to find individual donors to cover the cost. I didn’t think anything of it. But apparently this lady took that as a green light to go out and get donations and book the event.
I found out around the very end of July that this lady had booked Jami Smith, paid the deposit, and that she was going to be here on August 27th. Less than a month away. And we had no reason for any event to take place and other than this lady liked Jami Smith. We got together and had a meeting and I was expected to do pretty much the rest of the planning for the actual event. I was not happy about this. If an event like this was going to take place, I would have wanted at least a few months notice so that I could try and get other youth groups on board and make this a multi-church, interdenominational event. But with less than a month to go from absolutely no idea this event was going to happen to Jami Smith being here on the 27th, I was skeptical. So, I called up a speaker to come and speak at the event, came up with a theme, etc. The event was only going to be 2 hours long, which I also didn’t like because I feel like you can’t do much with only 2 hours with a group of total strangers.
Anyways, to make a long story short, the event went off pretty well, there were 190 people here, and it seemed like there were some “decisions” made. So, I got the feeling that maybe God used this event in spite of my skepticism and lack of enthusiasm for this event.
And then I read Tim Challies post on pragmatism this morning. Now, I don’t agree with Tim on a lot of things, but pragmatism is one area where I feel like Christians are missing the point (However, I am a little stumped about the whole “bearing fruit” thing that scripture talks about. Sounds at times like pragmatism to me). Just to do things because they “work” has in my opinion taken then church to the sorry state that it finds itself in today. We cannot be happy just because things were a “success.”
And I realized that I did become happy with the event Saturday night because it seemed “sucessful.” Even though I didn’t like the reason behind the event. Even though I had some theological problems with what I knew was going to happen and how people were going to be asked to make a decision.
So now I am rethinking about how I feel about Saturday night’s event. Maybe it wasn’t as successful as I thought. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Or maybe God did use it in spite of me. I don’t know.
The problem is, if I’m not pragmatic, I’ll probably lose my job. So what do I do?