One of the benefits of being a veteran in youth ministry, is that you get to look back and reflect. Last week, I had the opportunity to connect with some former students of the church I served ten years ago. It’s cool to see students I knew when they were 16 all grown up, married, and with kids of their own. It also makes me feel old, by the way.

While catching up with two of my students, now married to each other with two kids, we started talking about the impact the youth ministry had had on them. I’m incredibly proud of these two, since they now serve as leaders in the middle school ministry—for the fifth year. I was curious what they had remembered from their time in my ministry that they could now apply to their own leadership.

The small stuff

The small stuff, that’s what they had remembered. Not the big events, the programs, or the sermons I had spent hours preparing (talk about getting a healthy perspective on that one!). They didn’t mention the retreats, which I thought were pretty epic at that time, or the student leadership program they were a part of.

They remembered always being welcome in our home.

They remembered me asking about tests, relationships, sporting events.

They remembered me being there on birthdays, baptisms, graduation.

They remembered backyard bbq’s, dinners at our home, hanging out with me on our ‘coffee shop evenings’ where we opened the youth room just to chill. 

small group

It was all small stuff, all things I did outside of the programs and the events. It was me being present in their lives in small, yet tangible ways. And how proud did it make me to see them do the same things for their teens, to be present in their daily lives.

Youth ministry. It really is about the small stuff.

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