On “The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet” this morning, they had a few guests on talking either pro or con the concept of “prosperity theology”. This is something I think most people have heard about…read books, or seen/heard some nonsense on interviews. I’m sure some amount of good is happening through ministries like these, but you can probably figure out on your own…that I don’t agree with much these people say.
At one point, Mike actually asks a minister from Chicago about flying on his private jet to do the interview this morning. The minister stumbles through a few excuses, mainly the fact that he has a family, and wants to be with them as much as possible, even though he travels around doing 2-3 interviews every day. Okay. Maybe. You almost feel sorry for his family. But then he goes and actually says, “I believe if Jesus were doing ministry today, he would certainly have his own leer jet”. Wow. Really?
So personally….I’m not rich. Probably won’t ever be. I’m cool with that. So for me to say “I’m not really that into prosperity theology”, not really a huge revelation. But I still struggle with some of these same principles in ministry. If you’re faithful, God will bless your ministry efforts.
I’m a full time youth pastor. With a budget. And I hope to be doing this for a very long time, here in one place. What will that look like? What should that look like? What would it look like if Jesus had total reign of it? What would it look like if I wanted hundreds of teens to show up? If all we do is study scripture, feed hungry, and care for those in need….we might only have 15 people show up. I know I’m happy if 2 come. But I’m accountable to God, not myself. And I’m paid by the church, not myself.
“Prosperity theology” works its ugly little head into everyday life unannounced usually. Those board meeting where we approve of spending ridiculous amounts of money to do unnecessary things, or to pay someone else to do something that someone from our church is trained to do. Over the past year, I’ve spent money on a really nice projector for the youth room. It’s great, because now 40 teenagers don’t have to hone in on a single 32 inch screen. Over the next year, I’ll probably invest in a sound system. In Youth Ministry, we spend thousands and thousands of dollars (probably millions worldwide) to entertain teenagers with sound, lighting, concerts, conventions, mission trips (vacations), etc. These are luxuries not required by scripture to accomplish ministry of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and caring for those in need. Meanwhile, people die of hunger, disease, homelessness, etc. at an alarming rate.
How do I sleep at night?
But, I’m good friends with other youth pastors who have incredible resources at their disposal for ministry. And yeah, I get jealous once in a while. And I believe they are accomplishing great things for the Kingdom. And I know that, like it or not, a lot of people in my church may judge my effectiveness next to the appearance of these other ministries.
I suppose my calling is to be faithful to the ministries and resources that have been entrusted to me. And recognize that they are Gods’.
Without using everything I’ve just mentioned as an excuse to be lazy.
(sounds kinda selfish, doesn’t it?)