Last night we welcomed Mike and Lisa Brandow into the student ministry at Creekside Church. I am so glad to have Mike and Lisa on the Creekside team. It’s amazing how God knits things together. But with Mike and Lisa coming on board, I am now able to focus my attentions on leading the Spiritual Growth, Ministry and Serving purpose areas at Creekside.
I thought I would take a little time this week to write some reflections on my time in youth ministry. I’ll try to write one post each day about something that I learned.
1. I can’t fix kids.
This may be the most important and most difficult lesson that I had to learn. No matter how hard I try I can’t actually make anyone behave any differently. I wish I could fix people, because I usually have what I consider to be a pretty sensible solution for people’s problems. If they would only do what I say, everything would be better for therm.
That rarely works however, and if it does work it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit working in their lives. As a youth pastor (or any kind of pastor) my job is to love Jesus, and love the people that Jesus has called me to serve. I can point people to truth, compel them to trust Jesus and live lives that honor him, but I cannot actually fix them.
It is so hard to let the Spirit do his job, but I need to, and I need to be ok with his timing not mine. It’s incredibly deflating when a parent asks you to fix their kid at a weekend camp. And I understand the parent’s heart for their kids, but I can’t fix a kid. The only response that I can give a parent in that situation is pray while we’re at camp. Pray, pray, pray.
But when you realize that you can’t fix kids it’s also incredibly liberating. I know that I will have multiple opportunities to invest in these kids, and I can begin to invest in them and encourage them and point them to Jesus. I don’t have to be in a sales mode for Jesus, I don’t always have Always Be Closing the deal for salvation. Which is a pretty freeing place to be. Instead of giving an altar call in ever conversation, the focus changes to walking a life long journey of transformation with students.