The Why Behind the What

Ben Marshall
March 26th, 2019

Thank you for taking the time to read this. How are you doing? 

How are you doing, really?

If you’re like most of us, you probably feel as if there is more to do than you have time for, more that is being asked of you than you can possibly accomplish, and sometimes more is not getting done than is getting done. 

Our profession as youth workers is fraught with scheduling difficulties, heartaches, and struggles. But, it is also full of joy, progress, and meaning.

I recently read a book called The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb: Searching for Jesus’ Path of Power in a Church That Has Abandoned It by Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel. 

The author’s use the term “path for power” to move their thesis forward. The “path of power” is certainly odd language, but the principle for a youth worker is, well, powerful. The question it left me with was this: “What is the why behind my doing, and who am I doing it for?” 

There is a draw in ministry to become a performance-based ministry and job where numbers are the basis of health. That can be demoralizing and destructive. Numbers matter, but our purpose in ministry is not to simply attract people to a program, build our platform, or step up into “real” ministry work as a senior pastor. As leaders and pastors and youth workers our ministry is to disciple students to become faithful followers of Jesus. Sometimes we only get to see one step forward, or sometimes two steps backward, but all along the way we are pointing them to Jesus. Over and over and over again. 

This book reminded me that I don’t have all the answers, I can’t fix all the problems (as much as my personality and wiring tell me otherwise), and I can’t always be there to counsel and come alongside. 

Jesus’ “path of power” is one that is perfected in our weaknesses. It is in our weaknesses that God’s strength is made perfect because we are not relying on our intellect or popularity or platform, but instead are relying on the resurrected Son of God. 

When we are honest about our weaknesses, we open the door to vulnerability and connection. Vulnerability will keep us humble and keep our dependence on God. 

Remember that people, students especially, will resonate with your weaknesses. Your students would rather see your genuine faith, with its struggles and victories and questions and doubts, than a façade of perfection they will so quickly see through.

So, a two-part follow up question to just a brief comment on this book: “Why do you do what you do and who are you doing it for?”

I think we would all do well to ask ourselves this two-part, revealing question from time to time. And, it would be a good idea to have someone else periodically ask us this question as well.

Maybe take a spiritual health break from your work today, or over the course of a few days, and grab a copy of this book. It will get you thinking in different ways about your motivations and will also serve to encourage and challenge your faith.

Ben Marshall

Ben just recently became the Pastor of Student Ministries at Pathway Church in Beaver Falls, PA. He has a passion for discipling youth and young adults, helping them realize their God-given potential and developing next generation leaders. Ben is married to Connie and they have a two-year-old daughter, Aliya. Ben’s hobbies include kayaking, running, reading, playing guitar, soccer, and football. Follow him on Twitter @benmarshall3, Instagram @ben_marshall. If you want to continue the conversation or respond to what Ben has written, send him an email at bmarshall@lifeatpathway.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.