I realized today that the stages of life in ministry sometimes tend to resemble siblings. When you are just learning how ministry works and finding your calling, you are like the youngest. The older siblings want to help you grow and involve you everything so that you can experience the joy that comes from serving Christ. Mistakes are seen more as teachable moments and success is rewarded with more opportunity. Everyone is excited to see you succeed.
Those of you who have been in ministry for a long time are like the oldest brother, and for the most part you know your place. The other siblings look to you for leadership and you tend to look out for the baby of the family the most. Although you know that you are still learning, you are at a point of teaching and mentoring more. You sometimes have to answer for the mistakes of your siblings, but even that becomes easy over time.
Then there’s the middle child. You are in that middle ground where it is hard to find your identity. You were once the baby being mentored by your big brother, but now you have younger siblings who have taken that attention. Although you have been mentored in the past, it is still hard for you to mentor others because you are still in a state of immense growth. While you still look up to your older brothers, sometimes you feel neglected due to their focus on the babies. Without taking ownership of your own learning and growth, this can become a difficult time in ministry and I think many people choose to leave ministry during this season.
I feel like I have been in this season since early college and even more now that I have new “older brothers” and a lot of “younger siblings.” Trying to find my place in ministry has proven difficult. I am in a great position, but it is ultimately not where I want to be. I know I have to be patient, but it’s tough to depend on God’s timing rather than my own.