By Adam Weber
I somehow ended up starting a church at the age of 24. When I say ” somehow”, I mean I thought it was a bad idea and it wasn’t my bad idea. I was beginning my last year of seminary in Kentucky, while I was simultaneously starting this new church in South Dakota. And… I was clueless.
About pastoring a church.
About starting a church.
About pretty much everything.
But most of all, I was clueless about being a leader.
By the grace of God (and a lot of coffee) I finished my masters. My wife, 5 month old son, and I packed up the a Budget Rental and we moved to Sioux Falls. I was young, inexperienced, the youngest of my colleagues by a good 20+ years, and… did I mention, cluess? It didn’t help that the denomination I’m a part of was putting a lot of $’s into this new church as well. No pressure, right?
Well, three years into this “bad idea” and the church still wasn’t growing. We tried everything and it wasn’t working. I was told that if the church didn’t grow, I would either be moved or the church would be closed. The hardest part was, I felt the same as I did three years earlier….clueless. And I was more aware of it than ever.
Crazy enough. Just a few months later, a couple of things would change (mainly our location and service times). With prayer and a lot of hard work, the “bad idea” (the church I came love) began to grow… and grow and grow!
In 2013, Embrace made a Fastest Growing Church list. And then again in 2014 and 2015. Two of the years, I was listed as the youngest lead pastor. Embrace now consists of 5 campuses (soon to be 6) with a few thousand people on any given Sunday. I’ve received recognitions. I’m coaching churches. I’m speaking at conferences. I’m being asked to teach college classes. I’m writing a book with an incredible publisher.
Here’s why I say all of this…
The other night, I met up with a well known church consultant who happened to be in town and most of the night he praised me for what we were doing. He told me” Adam, churches all across the country have started to take note of what you’re doing.”
I was humbled by his kind genuine words, but honestly by the end of the night I felt sick to my stomach after hearing all of it.
Because in my heart of hearts, I know the truth. That more than ever, I’m still clueless.
Yes, I’ve learned a thing or two. Yes, I’ve grown as a leader. But when it comes down to it, I feel more insecure than I did when I was 24. All of the life changes and growth that has happened, has only been because of God. Only Him. Yes, I know that’s something that all pastors are supposed to say. But for me, it’s the truth.
I’m still clueless.
I know for myself, there’s been so many times that I’ve wondered “Am I the only one?”
Does anyone else feel inadequate as a leader?
Does anyone else secretly dream of strangling random people?
Does anyone else cry at times for no clear reason?
Does anyone else feel completely and absolutely clueless to lead?
Thankfully for me and possibly you.
God loves using the clueless.
The young, the old. The insecure, and inexperienced. The most unlikely of people.
One of the greatest leaders to ever live, the Apostle Paul, encourages us “not to be looked down upon because we’re young” (1 Tim 4:12). He tells us to “brag in our weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). I can do that! We’re even told that “God chooses to use the foolish” (1 Cor 1:27). And I’m gonna take that as a compliment.
God loves to use the clueless leader.
Even you. Even me.
Adam Weber is the lead pastor of Embrace. More at adamweber.com