2017-10-24 12.09.07“But you’re so young.” This was the concern of many minister search teams when I was interviewing for my next ministry. Once I responded with, “I’m thirty-five years old, it’s not like I’m living in my mom’s basement playing Halo.” I listened to my wife’s counsel not to respond to that concern in that way again. What we might be prone to think is that we want our leaders to have arrived. What if instead we desired that our leaders and ourselves be ever-growing.

I’m now thirty-seven. I remember participating in a Young Preacher Series at a lectureship. There were people on the program in their forties. I realized then that preachers skew old.

I’ve got a few greys on my head. You could call me a “just-for-men-preacher,” old enough to know what I’m doing and still young enough to do it (justformen.com). I understood where those search teams were coming from (in preacher years I am a baby). I began to answer their concerns with what I believed about myself, “I’m a growing preacher. I don’t consider that I have arrived. I’m not going to rely on doing things as they have always been done. As I learn and grow my hope is that the church learns and grows with me.”

But this was a tough sale for a church that wanted 10 year’s experience.

Truth is for all followers of Christ none of us has arrived and for anyone in leadership we should have an expectation for growth.

We are all in process.

Followers of Jesus are already, but not yet.

We are in Christ and we are becoming like him.

There is a difference between the disciples in the gospels and Acts. In the gospels we see false bravado, confused faith, paralyzing doubt, and partial love. In Acts we see real courage, understanding, boldness, and a widening love for all people.

A major difference was that in the gospels the Holy Spirit was with them and in Acts he was in them. As they lived by the Spirit and not the flesh they understood the mission of Christ and God’s love for the people of the world.

This is called transformation and can only happen with those who seek to be transformed. Sure, the disciples at time’s look like bumbling idiots but isn’t that true of me as well? And Jesus could do a lot with them even with their misgivings and he does the same with me.

This is simply a description of the way God works with us and in us. We are never perfect but we walk in a perfect direction.

Descriptive but not prescriptive.

God’s prescription for his creation is to be fully transformed with the return of Christ.

When he arrives, so do we.

Until then we pursue his way by doing his will. We practice the life of Christ by tuning our hearts to the Spirit.

We grow with time and intentionality.

Pray, meditate on God’s word, serve, seek silence and solitude, fast, and rest in Jesus’ name with the goal of becoming like him.

No matter how old you are whether experienced or inexperienced God doesn’t want you to think that you have arrived, neither does he want you to think that you never will so why even try.

What he wants is that you keep moving with the desire to be ever-growing.

Really, I’m not to be a “just-for-men-preacher,” God wants me to be a just-for-Jesus-preacher. Growing into the likeness of Christ.

How is your faith growing? Where do you need to grow?

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Jovan preaches for the Littleton Church of Christ near Denver, Colorado. Visit here to listen to sermons preached at the Littleton Church. 

Posted by jovanbarrington


Clarence Dalrymple/Living Faith Ministries Intl. Inc.

We face the other end of the spectrum–for some churches, we’re “too old.” This is a good post. My husband has been a minister for 53 years–experienced but not a “has been.” You’re right no one is too young or too old. –Pat Dalrymple


Whether preaching for 53 years or for only a few years like myself, we can have an impact for the mission of God if we choose to be ever-growing in our faith. I thank you and your husband for his long years of service in vocational ministry. Also, thank you for reading and commenting!

Clarence Dalrymple/Living Faith Ministries Intl. Inc.

We have been talking about that very thing. It takes the older minister and the one just starting out and the ones in between. Clarence pastored his first church at 24 years old, so he’s been where you are now. I pray you have a long and fruitful ministry!