by Cassie Schutzer, Director of the Young Adult Initiative
When I first became a young adult minister in 2019, I would get an anxiety pit in my stomach before every single event.
My stages of stress were like clockwork:
- Worry that no one would show up.
- Worry that everyone would show up and we would run out of food.
- Run to the store to buy more food. And we need decorations too, right?
- Arrive too early to set up, just to stress in a new location.
- Jot down some talking points that I would never actually use.
- Question all my life and career choices that led me to this moment.
- Make it through the event on adrenaline just to find out that all my fears were unfounded.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
For about a year, this cycle happened so regularly that it became almost familiar to me. Ministry became synonymous with anxiety, which led me to question whether I had discerned my vocation correctly.
Thankfully, I received the peace that I needed when God put a question on my heart: “Who do you work for?”
I realized that I had been trying to do everything on my own, under my own power. I was trying to create perfect programs instead of simply offering space for conversation and encounter. I was trying to avoid awkward silences and uncomfortable situations instead of trusting that young adults — who are adults — can manage their own interactions with each other. I was trying to compete with other events in the lives of young adults rather than asking them what they needed from the parish.
I was an events planner, not a minister.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says:
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works
that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.
This is not from you. This is not from you. This is not from you.
Paul reminds us who we are and where we fit into the story. It was God who chose us, not the other way around. It is God who equips us for His service, not we who prove our qualifications to Him. It is God who saves us, not we who save the Church or each other. It us under His power that we act, not our own. And when we are present to one another, it is His love, His presence that we reflect.
This doesn’t take away our importance — not at all! By our baptism, we have been called as disciples and each of us — whether we are paid ministers or not — are essential in the work of the Kingdom. We just always have to remember who we work for.
So if you are a minister who feels the burden of perfection or the stress of putting on another event, take a deep breath. The more we can release our grip and allow God to work, the more we can accomplish under His power.