At our worship night the other night, we had a student speaker. Inviting student speakers always creates some risk. You never know what's going to happen.
Our student speaker was terrific.
But he did something interesting, something he learned somewhere.
At the end of his talk, he wanted to prove his "authority" as a speaker. Now, since InterVarsity avoids authoritative preaching, embracing our interdenominational parachurch status, this was unusual.
He brought folks up to the front, spoke generally over them and asked their affirmation of his "word of knowledge." Picture a psychic or a criminal profiler.
Now, don't get me wrong, I believe in the practice of spiritual gifts. I'm okay with the possibility that a student might receive a "word of knowledge" from the Holy Spirit to share with another student. But this wasn't that.
Not a big deal. We'll correct it and it won't happen again. We teach and learn.
But there's something else to learn here.
This temptation strikes all of us in campus ministry: to prove we belong in ministry.
Now, we might not resort to "readings," but we have our own techniques. We grasp metrics, hoping the numbers will prove that we belong in ministry. We solicit feedback and performance appraisals, hoping our peers will agree that we belong in ministry. We gather fans, hoping our people will demand that we stay in ministry.
But ironically, we still secretly wonder if we belong in ministry.
If ministry is done by the necessary, the ready, the producers ... even the spiritually powerful ... we don't qualify. And we know it. We know we're replacable. We know we need to grow. We know God's the one who makes it all happen. We know our deep weakness.
Let's not deceive ourselves, attempting to prove we're here because we belong. As Scott Dittman says, we serve at the pleasure of the King. If we belong in ministry, it's a gift of God's grace. And this means that if we don't belong in ministry, it's OKAY!
Have you seen someone trying to prove they belong in ministry? How'd it go?