It is July. Wow, the past month has flown! I have been married for just over six weeks and this is the fifth week of being a full-time Youth Director! Life is good :)
There has been so much going on in the past month that it almost feels overwhelming. Even though life is good and I love everything I’m doing, it requires a lot of time. A couple of previous posts I wrote, I Feel Like an Adult and The First of Many, describe a few of the time-consuming things that are Connie’s and my adult life.
Here’s a cropped picture from the back of the bulletin…looks pretty official!
Coming to a new church as a staff member is really a unique experience. There are 500+ people to get to know, and somehow be able to remember their names. I came from a church that I had been at for 24 years, so I knew almost everyone’s name and everyone knew mine. Now everyone knows my name, and I am only beginning to know theirs. However, it brings with it an excitement. There are 500+ people to know, but that means that there are 500+ stories that I get to hear of how God has been at work and continues to be at work (of course not everyone has experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, but there are many, many who have, and that is awesome).
With only four weeks down (and many more to go :)) it has been a crazy time of planning, calendaring, meeting, adapting, adopting, praying and studying. I have so far come up with the summer schedule, both of events and teaching, but the Fall schedule still looms over my head as something that needs to get finished…and soon!! I have also developed a teaching calendar so I know where we are headed, the topics we will be dealing with, and how they can coincide and build off of each other. It feels good to know where the teaching is going. It somehow makes the lesson planning and studying and praying easier as I know where we are now and where we are going.
Developing a Youth Ministry team is a slightly intimidating task as well. There needs to be a good balance of youth and wisdom in the workers, as well as a visibly growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and the ability to connect with students where they are at. This is a unique skill set that not everyone has. I have been blessed that a solid team has already been in place, and I have had the opportunity to meet with most of them and hear their heart for the youth, and it has been comforting to know that they share my passion and excitement for the youth. It will be an interesting time training a leadership team where some have been in youth ministry since before I even started college, but that is the wonder of ministry and the awesomeness that is God. Age is just a number to Him, and He gives wisdom and vision and discernment irregardless of age.
Even though I’ve only been here a short time, I have already experienced some of the blessings of being a youth pastor. For example, I had the opportunity to witness a couple different youth sharing the gospel to a group of children. When we went to Detroit, it was a passion of ours to empower the students to do the work. When it came time to share the gospel at the end of the Backyard Bible Club, it would have been natural for me to get up and share the gospel, but we wanted the students to do it. We asked a few different students if they were comfortable doing it, and we had two respond that they would do it. It was a special opportunity to witness them proclaiming the gospel and see small children come to know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior as a result.
To bring this to a close, though there is so much I could share and write about, it has just been such an incredible blessing already in being a youth pastor. From day one, and now beginning month two, I have felt a great sense of calm and peace that this is exactly where God wants me. Not just the church, but the exact ministry of youth. This is what I feel I have been born and bred for, and it’s such a cool feeling. So what else can I say other than echoing these words of the Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT):
“Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me” – Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT)