Life in youth ministry

Collision and Kaleidoscope

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Today marks a year in youth ministry. Four school terms. Two semesters. One Easter Camp. One Fourth of July shindig. One Murder Mystery Dinner. Countless Bible engagement nights. Four small group activities. Two state Baptist gatherings. One AWESOME leadership team.

It’s been a year of souring highs – Friday nights where you leave elated, on fire & with more energy than you had after two coffees at lunch…but also of crushing lows, leaving you wondering ‘am I actually where I’m meant to be?’ I’ve served alongside some incredibly inspiring people whose hearts for the Lord will continue to astound me and it’s been my privilege to learn from those who have been in the field longer than myself too, watching them work, mingle and love the youth that God brings to our church family.

Reflecting on an insanely outstanding hear, there are a few things that I have learnt along the way that I hope will stay with me and be a part of next year’s youth ministry journey…

1) I’m not good at small talk. I get flustered. I don’t really know where to start & I get tongue tied…but even in my inability to communicate sometimes I found that this year, a lot of the best conversations I had stemmed from my persistence with small talk. I fought back. I ignored my desire to run the other way, and instead engaged in conversation with top-notch leaders, friends and youth kids. Sometimes I ask God for deeper conversations with people and He gives me opportunities to foster this through small talk.

2) Power really is a drug…better keep that one in check! There’s a fine line between tripping out on power and just being a good and efficient leader sometimes and I’d hate to think that I enjoyed being in charge so much that I spun out of control. Being aware of my abilities and limitations as a leader should never be tossed aside in favour of a prestigious title or tight reins on fellow workers.

3) It really IS all about the kids. End of the day – I wouldn’t HAVE a job if they weren’t around. Everything we prep during the week, everything we plan and execute and buy and set up and pray over and organise and dream is all a waste if it isn’t with the kids in mind. God has placed us each in this ministry field to LOVE and SERVE them, and if we’re merely planning events that mean they’re out of their parents hair for one night or they aren’t at home playing Xbox or surfing the web, then we’ve missed the point. They, as young people with incredible potential and who are crazy-loved by their Creator, are the reason we do what we do. Not the ‘tick the box’ mentality or the fun we have (though that’s a real bonus!) or how good it might all look on a resume…the eternal nature of what we do with and for these kids is the big reason. God in their lives is what it’s about.

4) Pray. I forget this. I get wrapped up in tasks, in lists, in making sure things are ready to go when the time is right that prayer seems like just ‘something else’ I’d better do. But if I STARTED all of that – all of my to-do lists – with prayer, it might actually feel less like a chore and more like a kick-off. If I started everything I have to organise off with prayer, then everything that I had to organise might not feel like such a chore either…and my heart realigns with point 3) above – why God has got me doing what I’m doing and who it’s all about.

I’m sure there are a bunch of other lessons I learnt this year, but at the moment as I think back over this past year in what I can safely say has been just an amazing journey filled with God’s timely blessings, these are the most standout tonight. The year has been a collision of ideas, movements, desires, trials and adventures. It’s been a kaleidoscope of emotions and experiences – from uni to youth ministry to friends and family. There are tidbits to be picked up and cherished in every adventure and every journey, and I’m thankful for everyone that I experienced 2014 with and every lesson that God has gently brought me to and through…

2015, what do you hold…?

(Image courtesy of Pinterest…)

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Week eight – ‘I’m a fan’

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“Whose gonna call on Sunday morning?
Whose gonna drive you home?
I just want one more chance
To put my arms in fragile hands.”

“We are who we were when
Could’ve been lovers but at least you’re still my day late friend
We are who
We are who we were when
Who knew what we know now
Could’ve been more but at least you’re still my day late friend…”

“Like lipstick traces on pillow cases
Some things in life are unforgettable
Like love, loss, lies and us and woh ohh
Some things in life are undeniable…”

“This is the correlation of salvation and love
(Don’t drop your arms)
Don’t drop your arms, I’ll guard your heart
With quiet words I’ll lead you in…”

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So if you haven’t guessed it by now, I saw this band live last week courtesy of three of my close friends and their brilliant birthday gift!! Anberlin have been my favourite band since high school. A friend and her brother introduced me to them one car ride and I haven’t looked back since! I’ve never liked a band so much that has resulted in tshirts and posters and every album and multiple, multiple concerts!! That same friend and I used to work in a bookstore and after hours, when the task of shutting up the store and counting tills loomed, we’d crank the store CD player with Anberlin and have a brilliant 40 minutes! We even went as far as to see them here in Adelaide and then fly out a day or so later to see them in Melbourne! We’re hardcore, original fans! Not only do I adore their music, these boys have such amazing skills when it comes to live performance! The way they work well together, their sounds and the atmosphere they create when they’re with fans is electric!

There’s something magical and ‘larger than life’ about seeing people you’re impressed by doing their thing…which makes me wonder what it would have been like for the Disciples watching and hearing Jesus ‘do His thing’ for crowds upon crowds. We’re they as enthralled, gob smacked and in awe as I was at Anberlin? I’m sure they were more-so! This was the Son of God, the Messiah, the Saviour of Mankind – He had skills and boy were they multiplying! Literally – bread, fish, healings, demons being banished…the guy was on fire! For the Disciples watching this, I can just imagine jaws dropping, hands clasped together and hearts racing. They were seeing The Lord in action and I bet it would have been astonishing and amazing. Nothing could compare to what they were privileged enough to witness during their time with Jesus…they were the original hardcore fans.