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Let me provide you with a “brief” version of a painfully awkward situation I had the pleasure of participating in one Friday night. My wife was having dinner with some old college friends, so I nestled into the Starbucks down the road to get some reading done. Fast-forward 15 minutes, and a family has pulled chairs up to me, without so much as asking what I was doing, and is now involved in a full on conversation with me. As it would turn out, I lived in their town in Mississippi 8 years ago. I wish I had the time to go into detail in all of the humor of the situation, but nobody reads long blog posts, so I’ll skip to the end.
As conversation died down, it happened. The question we all hear, the question everyone asks, and the question that shoves you into a corner. “That’s so great you like working with kids. Will you ever be a real pastor?”
There are few ways to paint a youth pastor into a corner, but one of the quickest is to ask that question. Rather than “firmly educating” her and letting her know that I am a real pastor, I simply said something along these lines…
Oh, well I’m ordained and that’s what I went to school for. Did you mean to ask if I’ll ever be a senior pastor? I mean, I don’t really know! My passion and what God’s gifted me in is teaching the Bible. Right now, the context of that is teaching students the Bible. So I’m just being faithful with where I am right now, you know? Someday, who knows, but right now, I just really love being a pastor to students.
That’s a hard question to answer without coming across as rude, pious, and demeaning. Have you ever been in that situation? How do you normally handle it?