This past week I received an email that brought me much delight. One of my former youth from my last church, who also was my intern for a year, just announced that she will be entering seminary this year and going into the ministry. Yea! By my count, she is at least the seventh former youth of mine who has gone-or is planning to go-into the ministry, including both our present youth intern, Mikey and our last one, Kaytlin.
One of the pure joys of a long term youth ministry is seeing the fruit of one's labor. In other words, the wonder of youth ministry is not just the immediate gratification of being with young people in this pivotal time in their lives, but it is also anticipating what is to come. This past Sunday during Youth Sunday I was so proud of our young people as they shared their gifts in worship, the singing, the dramatizing, the praying, the ushering, the speaking, all capped off by three of our seniors sharing God's word so beautifully. It was a service that truly glorified God. As I soaked it all in, I began to envision the young adults that these youth are in the process of becoming. It brought a big, big smile to my face.
As I once heard, youth ministry is about building cathedrals. Cathedrals aren't built overnight. It takes years, decades, even centuries. You may feel like you are just a bricklayer mundanely laying bricks for some walls. But the reality is, you are not just laying bricks for a wall; you are building a cathedral, whose finished product, even if you don't live to see it, is indeed something splendidly exquisite.
Likewise, the process of growing children into faithful disciples of Christ takes time. You don't always see the fruit of your labor. In fact, there are times you may feel like you labor in vain. But then as the years pass, you eventually see the "finished product," and you can't help but rejoice and give thanks to God.
One "cathedral" in front of another, first in Russia and then in Spain!
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Prayer for Today
O God, we pray for our youth and give thanks for them. They are a blessing from you. Help us to remember that, especially in tough times. You are not done with them yet-or us as well. Assist us, we pray, in that sacred task of raising them to love you and others and find their calling in life. Amen.