I have been doing some unscientific research lately. You will not be surprised at the results but they are probably a good reminder to all of us who are in ministry.
The last several times when speaking to groups of young people who are planning on going into ministry or too young men who have recently begun preaching I’ve asked them: “What has been the attitude that you have most seen out of the preachers who most impacted you when you were growing up to preach? What did you think of them? What made the biggest impact on you?
While as unscientific as can be, the responses almost universally have been: “I saw them as men who were joyful, I saw them as men who were happy, I saw them as people who were enjoyable to be around.”
We need to be reminded that those who influence young people to go into ministry most deal with the same pressures, problems, church difficulties, ministry frustrations, and life issues that most all of us deal with. They just have made a determinant decision to approach those obstacles differently, to approach life with joy in spite of challenges, and to be happy in spite of pressures going on around them.
I think it is a good reminder for all of us in dealing with anyone, but perhaps most especially with young people, that the attitudes we have about the church, about our work, about the brethren, or about ministry affects them. They notice. And the ministers who most exhibit a spirit of joy impact the future more. We may need to work harder to have a joyful disposition in the midst of difficulties. And with what certainly appears to me to be a shortage of capable ministers maybe our attention to our own attitudes will make a difference and excite more young people to be preachers or to go into ministry. I must confess I have not always done that but when I have I have influenced more young people for good. Approach your work with joy, intensity, excitement, and excellence. It will make a difference. Let’s remember that.