You prepped a lesson. You planned games. You posted on social media. You showed up. But they didn’t… or maybe just one did… Sure it’s been a crazy few months, but things are finally coming back to some sense of normal. Shouldn’t they be here? Yes, they’re busy kids but it’s summer, they should have more time. It’s disappointing, it hurts, but one showed up. So now what?
Do you teach to one like a crowd? Do you ditch the lesson and play games? Do you send them home and call the night a wash? I don’t know if I did what was best for my one student that night, but we chose to ditch the lesson – the lesson I had studied and prepared hours for. I set it aside, went down to my office to my Nerf gun stash and we played games. For an hour (shortened meeting times for now) myself, my one leader that showed, and the one student that showed had a ping-pong war, tried to shoot Nerf bullets into a can across the room (Impossible Shot on the fly), blared music and laughed.
It wasn’t what I planned. If I’m honest, it wasn’t what I wanted. But after having a few days to digest the disappointment, I have to believe it was for the best. That student happened to be a more reserved quiet kid and he got an hour to talk about anything – the phone he’s saving to buy, his favorite RC car and some college plans. An hour of two leaders choosing to invest in him rather than sitting in self-pity. An hour of investment in his life. An hour of him unknowingly reminding me of the little joys of ministry. Maybe that hour changed a life or two, maybe it was just an hour of Nerf and ping-pong. Either way, that one student was worth the hour.
Choosing to see the worth in one is something uniquely beautiful and joyous. It also is exactly what Christ did for each and every one of us. So while it may be heartbreaking and disappointing to have a youth group scattered I hope and pray you see, feel and remember how much you look like Christ when you still choose to invest in the one.
I’m the youth pastor at Marysville Christian Church in Marysville, OH and a graduate of Kentucky Christian University (Go Knights!). When I’m not hanging out with students I love to hike and hammock, pretty much anything outdoors! I think I may be the only youth pastor to hate pizza and I that middle schooler students could rule the world if they didn’t have an early bedtime.