I used to hate the look and the feeling that came with it.
In a conversation about ministry and my age or experience comes up and I get this look of pity. The kind of look you give a puppy when they stumble trying to keep up. Made me feel inadequate. So I tried harder, I tried to prove myself.
I don’t hate that look anymore and I’m not a Rookie anymore, at least technically.
Been in paid ministry since 2005 and I’m 28 years old with our first child on the way. Worked for two different churches, seen staff hired and fired, dealt with moral failures, led ministries that flourished and struggled, baptized, married, and buried. Still have a lot to learn but I’ve seen some things.
Not a Rookie Pastor by experience but a Rookie Pastor by choice.
If a Rookie Pastor is someone willing to learn, adapt, and change. I’ll be a Rookie.
If a veteran pastor is someone set in their ways, calloused, and cynical. I’ll be a Rookie.
If a Rookie Pastor looks to peers for advice, challenge, and inspiration. I’ll be a Rookie.
If a veteran pastor sees peers as competition. I’ll be a Rookie.
If a Rookie Pastor says with confidence “I don’t know.” I’ll be a Rookie.
If a veteran pastor always has a quick answer. I’ll be a Rookie.
If a Rookie Pastor needs the Holy Spirit to survive. I’ll be a Rookie.
If a veteran pastor uses the Holy Spirit. I’ll be a Rookie.
Sometimes those who know me personally and are part of this community will ask me “What comes after Rookie Pastor?” They ask because I am having a baby. They ask because I’m not fresh out of college. They ask because I’m starting to turn grey.
When they ask I smile and tell them “I’ll always be a Rookie.”
There is no real long-term plan for this. Other than to support and encourage those who need it. Because I need it now, as much as I did when I was 20 and hopefully will when I’m 60.
Let’s embrace the look.