I was able to go to a Tenth Avenue North concert as a part of their “Struggle” tour. If you haven’t heard of them, Tenth Avenue North is a Christian band from Florida and has recorded popular songs like Healing BeginsLove Is Here, and Losing. What I love most about this band (other than the fact that they sang Call Me Maybe during their concert) is that they have a real depth to their songs. It sounds almost like poetry, and they are not afraid to dive into the rich theology that has peppered our Church for thousands of years.

One of their songs seems to speak right to the soul of a minister (and it’s not Losing, I pray you have more optimism than that). The song is called Don’t Stop The Madness (again, optimism). What I love most about this song is how it envisions ministry, how it beautifully shifts the perspective of our actions.

In ministry, there are always going to be trials, sacrifices,
and people who give us crazy looks

You see, the band has rebranded evangelization as the madness, and let’s be honest, isn’t it? I served as a missionary with NET Ministries of Canada, which means I gave up a year of my life to travel Canada (eh?) and evangelize people I may never see again. When I told people this, they were blown away by the sacrifice and courage it took. Now when I tell people that I am a youth minister working in a small town outside of Bryan, TX and I tell them how I try and go to lunches as often as I can to visit students, and how I coordinate high school events and sacramental preparations, and volunteer with the middle school ministry, all while I am going to school myself, and they are just as blown away as when I decided to go to Canada for a year… Would you like to know why? BECAUSE IT’S INSANE! [tweetthis]#Evangelization sometimes can feel like madness. That’s because… it is.[/tweetthis]

These sacrifices are not self-serving and a majority of the time, not immediately fruitful. Ministry is a battlefield, layered with mines, traps, and enemies. I feel like most ministers at some point feel that the suffering is unendurable. That there isn’t enough fruit. That there is not enough time or energy left to give. That it is impossible to carry on.

Well, first, I want to say that this is why the good Lord in His infinite wisdom created us for community. This life would be so much more difficult if we didn’t have each other. And I personally would have given up my faith life a long time ago, if it weren’t for the people that God has put in my life at strategic points (He seems to know what He’s doing). We need to reach out to ministers around us, and work together. We need to ask for help when we need it. Second, this is why God has created us for Himself, so that our life may come from Him, and not from our own doing.

Just as Christ embraced the wood of the cross, so should we embrace our own crosses

Personal prayer should always be the focus for our ministries. Our Lord revealed to St. Faustina, “You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.” Now I know you’re thinking, Well Kyle, doesn’t that kind of put a hole in your whole purpose in life? And I would answer no. My purpose is to be in relationship with God. Everything else I do is my gift to God. [tweetthis]God created us for Himself, so our life comes from Him & not our own doing[/tweetthis]

If you are a minister, involved in any ministry, or you’re Christian, or simply human, I hope that this song and these words are a wake up call. After all, isn’t that what Christendom is all about? In Ephesians, Paul writes, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” How could we know how desperately we need God, until we know what it’s like to walk away from him? You never know high the mountain is until you’ve seen how deep the valley goes. That’s why we beg for this madness. Just as Christ embraced the wood of the cross, so should we embrace our own crosses. This is why Tenth Avenue North sings,

Don’t stop the madness, Don’t stop the chaos, Don’t stop the pain surrounding me, Don’t be afraid, Lord, to break my heart if it brings me down to my knees

Click here to listen to the song, and let it be your anthem. And show them some love by tweeting below:
[tweetthis]@tenthavenorth Thanks for inspiring youth ministers to keep going![/tweetthis]


–written by Kyle Turner, former youth minister at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Caldwell, TX