Pinkies and Proteges by Mike Ward


The time has finally arrived! Yes, it’s the moment you’ve all been patiently waiting for – one that’s been over eight months in the making! Go ahead; take a moment and mark your calendar of this momentous occasion, as I, your new youth minister, finally… write… a… BULLETIN ARTICLE!

Well, sorry to be so overly dramatic there, but I am actually very excited to be given this tremendous opportunity! I mean, how cool is it that I now get to share an article space with such brilliant writers as Toby Levering, Mark Yeakley, Elaine Denman, and Steve Tandy? What a privilege and honor!

In my former life of coaching junior high basketball, I used to tell my players, “It takes all five fingers to form a proper fist in order to fight!” What I was wanting was five athletes who would work together out on the court. So in this significant moment, I feel like the awkward little pinkie finger who has finally arrived! Certainly we all know just how important the pinkie finger is, right? How else would you keep loose change from falling out of your grasp? And there’s just no other way to seal a pact with a 5-year-old than by pinkie promise! It’s just irreplaceable!

In all seriousness, however, I do feel a bit underqualified or ill-prepared to be assigned this task. I mean, surely there are far more capable authors, scholars, sages, or English teachers at Northside who could produce more inspiring words than myself. The fact of the matter is that it’s not just writing bulletin articles, but being assigned the task of filling the shoes of a beloved youth minister, meeting expectations of a well-established church, and serving alongside prominent men and women in ministry.

Yet as intimidating as those are, the one task I consider to be the most important, and one which I take seriously, is that with which Paul charged his protégé in 1 Tim. 4:12-13 – “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, life, love, faith and purity…devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.” I’d imagine Timothy was feeling a bit of pressure in his ministry, prompting Paul to write what he did. Personally I can’t help feeling like young Timmy in my present position in life.

Good thing God brought me to Northside! I can think of no better church family than this for a young, underqualified, ill-prepared, fresh-out-of-ministry-school pinkie to begin his first ministry work. Those names mentioned above? Yeah, they’re on my team! All those “scholars and sages?” They’re the ones who encourage me, pray for me, and exemplify a godly life for me! I may just be a lowly pinkie, but I sure am blessed to be a part of Christ’s Body – especially the part here at Northside.