When I was preparing for pastoral ministry, an older, seasoned pastor warned me about the dangers of getting a messiah complex. He actually said to me, "You'll come out of seminary full of ideas, thinking you're going to change everyone and save the church. But, after awhile, you realize it's just not going to happen."
I wondered at the time, How long had it taken for his ministry passion to die? How many walls did he have to hit? How many disappointments did it take?
I also wondered why he didn't tell me this before I was already committed to this work and almost through seminary.
This pastor wasn't trying to discourage me. He was trying to give me a realistic view of ministry. But, I realized then, I don't want to be realistic about ministry. There is nothing tame, realistic, or rational about God's transforming grace. If a persecutor of the church could become a church planter and biblical author, I thought, God can change anyone. I decided that I wanted to be a conduit of that unrealistic ...1