In the next 12 months I’ll finish my 10th year at Saddleback, hit 18 years of marriage and have a junior higher of my very own. Holy crap. It has been a wild ride and I’m beyond excited about the next chapters that are unfolding each day here at my church and the fun I’m having through Download Youth Ministry. I love where we’re at and love the cadence of our family and ministry. We have challenges for sure, but know this is where God is working and where we’re supposed to be.

As I cross more milestones in ministry I also get nostalgic for the old days. I reflect on some great memories, some tragedies, some huge wins and some epic fails. I love seeing God’s hand throughout, and watching Him guide clearly through what seemed like winding, meandering footpaths and rabbit trails of my life.

As an exercise for myself (an inspired by a close friend) I took some time to write down some of the story of my life, and wanted to encourage you to do the same. Perhaps God is going to open up your next big chapter, perhaps this is a “bloom where you’re planted” moment and it will help you see you’re just where God wants you. Maybe you’ll discover something about your past story that God will use in your future story. Not sure what it will do for you but even writing this list of questions helped me begin to process the story of my life.

I’ll be back later this week to talk more about my timeline, but wanted to challenge you to pause and write out the story of your life in youth ministry, too. Some ideas to get you started thinking:

  • your call to youth ministry
  • the 1st time you spoke in youth group
  • a time when you got stumped by a question from a student
  • that time you epic failed
  • when you made a mistake that turned into a huge win
  • when you spouse was so frustrated
  • your first conflict with another volunteer/church staff
  • when you got chewed out by a parent
  • that time that brought you to tears
  • that time you laugh so hard you lost control of your basic bodily functions
  • that mission trip story
  • when you caught those kids making out
  • the time you should have been fired
  • that senior pastor’s kid story
  • when you went waaaaaaay over budget
  • that painful interaction with the executive pastor/deacon
  • the life-change in that kid you thought God couldn’t even change
  • the time God wrecked you
  • the legendary summer camp story
  • the time you quit
  • the time you were fired
  • that one time when God audibly spoke to you

Take a little time to reflect on your youth ministry story today, more from mine tomorrow!