Today, many of my minister friends are waking up from Lent/Holy Week/Easter recovery day, if they got one or took one. They deserve a pat on the back--what am I saying??? They deserve a raise. I imagine that, long ago, it was minister serving on a church staff who coined the phrase "sweet nothings". But I digress--and I haven't even "gressed" yet!
It's always a good idea to share compliments with your minister. Start by referring to her or him as your minister. If you say it out loud enough, you might even get around to actually believing it. Your minister is your minister and not your employee, no matter how much money you give or what committee you might chair. The only ones exempt from this rule are the church's administrative professionals. Sorry, pastor, we all know who really runs things.
Calling your minister your minister is a high compliment. Introduce your minister to others by saying, "This is my pastor/minister/life coach/bad mood exterminator." Don't even go there with the archaic, "This is our church's youth director. Ain't she cute?" You'll be very close to learning a very new definition of cute as in, "Great white sharks are cute."
One of the highest compliments I have received in 23 years of doing ministry happened back in my youth ministry days. I supplemented my income working crowd control at Georgia Tech football games. I helped supervise ticket takers. We'd get a different crowd to take tickets at each home game. Sometimes they were a group of Boy Scouts. One other time, they definitely were not Boy Scouts. One of the ticket takers told me she worked at night as a bar tender. She added that during that day or other spare time she had she earned money as a body artist. "Tattoos?" I asked. "No, piercings," she replied. Then she went on to give a little more "educational" detail about her art and the medium in which she worked. She mentioned her own piercings and left it to my imagination if she had done them herself or relied on another colleague from her guild. My mind was blown, hearing her autobiography through my very naive filters. Well, then she turned those proverbial tables on me and asked, "What about you, what do you do?" I gulped. I then composed myself and said, "I'm a youth minister at a local Baptist church." Her reply has helped keep me in the business. In a tone that suggested complete acceptance and invited me to give the same she said, "No [bleep]! Really? I think that's great!"
When the time came for me to select a Twitter handle, of course, I wanted to be me. @me was already taken. I thought about my Georgia Tech experience, but I didn't have the guts to check if @No[bleep]really was available. Twitter offered me @ChipReeves2 which suggested there was a Chip Reeves who came before me. Who would ever believe that? I hate to break your heart, but I actually have an older not-too-distant cousin...
My mind leapt to another high compliment that has blessed my heart for a few years now. If you knew me during the McAfee School of Theology years, you are familiar with my contributions to the downfall of journalism. If you are a current McAfee student, and don't know, get thee to the library archives or at least beg your Baptist Heritage professor to develop a J-term class on it.
OK, back to the story. A few summers ago, I helped my fellow minster The Right Reverend Mrs. Youth Ministry Woman chaperone some children to camp. On arriving at camp the children were turned over to their Bible study leaders and the adults remained in the auditorium to cover camp business together (have a snack). We also had to introduce ourselves. Following the meeting, a colleague in ministry who happened to also be an alumnus of McAfee early AC (After Chip), came up to me and asked with enough confidence that it bestowed a title, "Are you THE Chip Reeves?"
Now, how else can you answer that except to say, "Yes. Yes I am!" Thanks for the blessing. You know who you are.
The Chip Reeves is available to preach and tell stories in your church, group or community. You can contact him by email, or follow him on Twitter @TheChipReeves.