i know. you’ve heard it before. but trust me. no more excuses. no more surprises. no more letting life circumstances get in my way. no more emergencies to rob my time. nothing more to hinde…
yeah, right. maybe i should just write today and see what it’s like tomorrow. here goes.
i’m sitting inside a cabin looking out the window at the snow-covered rocky mountains, on my yearly trip to colorado to spend a week with younger youth ministers. i get to challenge, teach, counsel, encourage and mentor these guys to live a life worthy of their calling.
it’s a good thing.
it’s also a week where i get to (or am forced to) remember my past life. and as much as i love talking about youth ministry and hanging out with guys who get to do the best and most important job in the world…it’s still bittersweet.
i started doing youth ministry when i was 18 years old. before i was 21, i had led youth group “allnighters”, road trips, winter and summer camps, and a mission trip. parents were way too trusting, back in the day.
for the next 36 years, youth ministry defined what i did with my life. i did a lot of other things on the fringe…preaching, teaching in college, coaching, counseling… but youth ministry was always at the core. it was always what i loved to do the most.
it wasn’t always just fun and games, like most people think. it was often painful and infuriating. so many nights of going to bed exhausted and empty, carrying the weight of broken lives…shattered by bad parenting, bad coaching, bad friends, or bad examples. to walk beside kids who struggle to find their identity and purpose in their creator, rather than a world of other voices screaming for their attention feels like an impossible task most days.
to be honest, there were many times i wished i could leave my work at the office or feel the sensation of a completed project, but that is not the life of youth ministry.
it’s been four or five years since i felt at least some of the responsibility for kids and the youth ministry program at north point. it’s been almost seven, since i was fully responsible. anymore, it’s just once a year that i live in the world of youth ministry for more than a passing moment.
and once a year i remember how great it was…and what a privilege it was to spend most of my life doing it…and what an honor it is to still stand up for it and speak about it and be the defender of its purpose in the world today.
and how much i miss it.
the good news? i’m now responsible for an entire church family that functions like…and sometimes acts like…a big youth group.
my goal this week? i’ve got to figure out a way to include a couple of rounds of dodgeball into the sunday morning services. any ideas?