We in the world of ministry work in the in’s and out’s of student’s lives. There is no formula when it comes to spiritual growth. There is no trick in teaching students how to “get it” and follow Jesus with all their hearts. Most of the time, we work in delayed gratification (although there are some students who do catch God’s vision for them and just take off. Those are fun times). But most of the time we will never fully see the impact we have on student’s lives and we wont ever fully see what God does in them.
I was at the Youth Pastor’s Summit (which was great, free, and practical. Plus I got to hang with Josh Griffin like old times so it was a blast) and Jon Acuff was one of the speakers. He said something that struck me but it was incredibly true.
He said, “You in youth ministry have the hardest job. You’re job is never finished. You don’t see the end result in youth ministry. Most times, God doesn’t let you write the whole song in a student but just a lyric.”
All we can do, is be faithful to our calling, pour everything we have into our ministry, our leaders and our students and trust God is going to do what He does best… change hearts and change lives. Sometimes students will leave our ministry and we wonder what God is going to do in them. Sometimes, when you feel like, “What am I doing? Am I even effective? Are they listening?” are the times when you get random texts from those students as if God is sending a reminder when you need it most to remind you, “Keep going, don’t stop. You’re right where I want you.”
This just happened twice this week. Ill be honest with you, the last month has been tough. I feel the enemy has been weighing down on me and I was asking those questions. Then I get these texts from two former students.
- “So incredibly blessed to have such a strong, influential, and loving leader in my life. Thank you for always encouraging me.”
- Had a great conversation last night about how you’re the best staff member to have been on HSM staff. Just thought I would tell you that and give ya a little encouragement on this Sunday that you’re doing something right in ministry! Go you. We got to chatting about what a youth minister should look like and you came up as an example of what a great youth minister is.”
Talk about perfect timing! Its texts from students like this that make you feel like you can go another 20 years doing this. We will never though the true impact we have in the lives of our students, but I know if we remain faithful to God in our ministry, we will be used more than we will ever imagine and sometimes…sometimes we will be reminded at just the right times why we do what we do.
We have the best but craziest jobs don’t we? We are pretty lucky. Don’t give up. Keep going. God has you right where you need to be. We get to be a lyric in the greater story, so let’s make it a great lyric.
Hebrews 6:1-3 So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.