My husband Tyler is the fabulous youth minister at our church here in our itty-bitty town (that reminds me of Mayberry from the outside looking in) in South Carolina. Tyler LOVES our students. I mean LOVES them. We both try to connect with them throughout the week and meet them where they are. Whether that means meeting up with them at the local McDonald’s (the only place to grab some coffee in town-BOO), playing basketball in the church gym (and being reminded you’re too OLD for that), taking walks with them in the park, having them over for a little chit chat bonding (and baby holding) time, or going to their sporting events. You can find us at them at least twice a week! We’re teaching Liam to say “Go Mustangs!” and cheer for each of our students! Somewhat unfortunately, we pick up on their lingo…I’ll catch myself calling Tyler bae (for those “old people” that means Before Anyone Else-hilarious!). I’ll say, “Oh man! That person was SALTY to me!” (for those “old people” that means sassy, with attitude). It cracks us up when we catch ourselves being sucked into teenager-land! Hey, I love it…they keep us YOUNG!
In our adventures with these students, we have had many heart-to-hearts with them. Some sadly end in them leaving our youth group because they don’t necessarily want to hear the truth but would rather us condone some of their bad decisions. Some end in tears and hugs. Some just end in laughter because there’s never a dull moment! I’ve had nights where I’ve covered Tyler’s shirt with mascara from tears because my heart is broken over some decisions my girls have made. There have been days where I’ve come to him BEAMING because my girls have made a life changing impact on fellow classmates, have taken a stand for Christ when it’s “not cool,” decided to live for Christ and not others. Youth ministry can be such a rollercoaster…but let’s be honest; PEOPLE ministry (so, ministry as a whole) can be quite a rollercoaster.
People are messy. All of us. Not a single person has it ALL together, no matter what may appear on the outside. Christianity isn’t a place to be on an island by yourself. We aren’t supposed to be recluses. We aren’t supposed to avoid fellowship with believers or avoid opportunities to share Christ with those who don’t know Him. Yes, it can be hard, but that’s when we realize it’s all too important to place our hope in Christ, not others. Our motivation to love and serve others must be based on Christ – His love for us and His call for us to GO.“GO and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19) wasn’t just for a few. It’s for all of us. We cannot let the ups and downs of ministry be an excuse for us to avoid the calling God’s given us. All of us must make disciples of all nations. In order to make disciples, there must be ministry happening. We may not see fruit on this side of heaven, but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Do ministry where He’s placed you…do it well!
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9