You may feel beaten down, worn out or even rebellious because of a negative situation, but it offers you a chance to learn. (creationswap.com)

My first paid position in ministry was as a part-time youth pastor while I was in seminary. The church had been outstanding at one time, but it was in a long, slow decline. While the pastor was kind to give me the job, he became a negative role model for me.

Young ministers don’t always realize they may be able to learn as much from a negative example as from a positive one. Even though an early experience in ministry might be negative, if they can survive, they will be OK. They just need to make sure they learn not to be like their first “mentor.”

The pastor I first served under was a great preacher, but he had a strong ego. Everything in the church was his. There is a legitimate use for the expression “my church,” but with him, it really meant that everything belonged to him. He even introduced me by saying, “I want you to meet my youth pastor.”

I confess to having a rebellious streak that wants to push back at things I don’t like. And I would be saying under my breath, “I am not your youth pastor. The reason this church is in trouble and declining is that everything is yours. I am the Lord’s youth pastor; this church is His, and it’s not yours.”

Obviously, I didn’t stay there for long. But I never took issue with him in public. My job was not to undermine his leadership. If you ever find yourself somewhere that you just can’t live with the authority in place, you need to get out.

My negative experience helped shape a good habit in me. When I became a pastor, I tried to avoid using the first-person singular personal pronoun. It was “our church” or “the Lord’s church.” I introduced staff members as “our youth pastor” or “the youth pastor of the church.” I avoided any nomenclature that suggested everything is mine.

Even bad experiences are good experiences. You may feel beaten down, worn out or even rebellious because of a negative situation, but it offers you a chance to learn. God refines and teaches us through having to submit, for instance, to someone who is unfair, egotistical or self-serving. By humbly accepting a less-than-desirable state of affairs, you can grasp valuable lessons that might not sink in as well under better circumstances.

George O. Wood is the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.

Get to know the Holy Spirit and how to interact with Him on a daily basis. Learn to enter God's presence and hear His voice clearly for yourself! Go deeper in your faith with Life in the Spirit and change your life and destiny. Are you ready to start your journey?

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • There are some ways the Holy Spirit will never lead you.

    4 Ways the Holy Spirit Does Not Lead You—and 1 Big Danger

    Wrong teaching, ignorance, laziness and a failure of the five-fold to equip the saints for the work ...

  • Chuck Pierce

    Prophetic Word: 'The Winds of Heaven Are Now Entering the Earth'

    Chuck Pierce says we need to brace ourselves.

  • What if You Could Save $500 This Week?

    What if You Could Save $500 This Week?

    Start saving for emergencies today with the $500 Savings Challenge by brightpeak financial. It's chock-full of inspiration, great savings tips and the motivation to make a dent in your savings—for real! Go to 500savingschallenge.com to sign up!

  • Lee's ministry photo

    10 Ways to Pray for a Troubled America

    God is always willing to rescue His people if they pray.

  • Hillary Clinton

    What if Hillary Clinton Wins the White House?

    Polls have Mrs. Clinton leading by 11 points. The church must be prepared.

  • Low-Rate Church Loans Available!

    Low-Rate Church Loans Available!

    Whether it's purchasing a property, remodeling or refinancing, Christian Community Credit Union has a loan package that's customized for your budget and situation.

  • Holy Spirit prophetic

    7 Ways to Cultivate Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

    Too many of God's people are led by fear, doubt, man-pleasing, presumption, assumption, idols ...

  • God doesn't usually shout, so you should listen carefully.

    What Happens When You Actually Listen to God

    It will surprise—and most likely shock—you.

  • Is there any unconfessed sin in your life?

    Scripture Says Pain, Health and Sin Share This Unexpected Connection

    If you're experiencing chronic pain, this may offer you the answer you need.

  • Guarding the gates of your heart will keep the demonic and evil out of your life.

    Keep the Demonic Out of Your Life With This Oft-Overlooked Spiritual Warfare Strategy

    The enemy knows his limitations. Limit him.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit