I have always had passion for youth ministry. It’s been in my heart since my youth leader, Rhonda, told me I was a leader and saw something in me around age 13. Something in her encouragement stirred things in my heart. I knew for the first time I was made for more.
My heart has been ablaze since last night. It was our first Wednesday sitting in with our new youth group. The reason we moved to Florida. I was nervous, I’ll be honest. Eric and Jessica have taken care of them and gotten to earn their trust for years now. Transition isn’t always easy. We’ve experienced it before. But everyone cheered for us as we walked up and were introduced and we felt so welcomed there.
Two new girls slipped in the back during praise and worship, somewhat intimidated. One of the girls in the youth introduced herself with her sweet smile and charm and invited them to sit with her. And they did. A few minutes later we slipped out to have cake with Kendyl and her class for her birthday and we missed part of the service. But we were later told that the girls got saved!
I am so emotional right now. Streaming music on Pandora with Mickey Mouse echoing down the hallway of our apartment, I am so overwhelmed by God’s presence. A few weeks ago, we were told that five teenagers got saved, three of those were there for the first time. Then last night, those two girls walked in from off the street. Do you hear me? Off. The. Street. I introduced myself to them, and asked if they knew someone in youth and they shook their heads no. Two girls during the most awkward stage of life are walking down the street and figure they’d give church a try. The Word is presented, hope is found, and they surrender their lives to Christ. Chill bumps are covering my arms right now.
We have this thing all wrong. So terribly wrong. It’s not about the lights. It’s not about the numbers. It’s not about activities and trips. It’s not about the music. It’s not about who’s speaking. It’s about coming together as a group of believers and sharing the hope that’s found only in Christ. This world needs it so bad! They’re tired of the hopeless situations they’re living in and are desperate to find something worth living for! What they don’t need is to come in contact with fluffy, puffed up, fake, WWJD wearing, high heel, fancy tie sporting hypocrite. And so many times, that’s exactly what they find lining the pews. I’ve had so many friends tell me they have no desire to walk in the doors of a church because of all the fake people who judge their every move. I mean, do you blame them? What do you say to that?
We are called to so much more!! We aren’t called to live a mediocre life as heartless robots and cyborgs. Jesus sure didn’t. He sat and ate with the bad guys. The prostitutes and adulterers found acceptance in His presence. They spent time with Him and were changed. Changed. They were changed. *taps mic* Is this thing on? They were changed. They didn’t stay the same. If you have sat under a pastor who has preached the gospel for years but you have never had your toes stepped on or felt conviction or tugging at your heart at some point to change, oh I pray for you. It’s a scary place to be in, my friend.
The embers in my heart are red hot at this point in my life. I am ready. I’m ready to get my hands dirty. I’m ready to pour out what God has poured in. I’m ready to feed the hungry. There are so many youth who come hungry, not just spiritually. I had a girl tell me last night that now that they’re not on food stamps anymore, there’s not always food in the pantry. My heart aches. It’s breaking. We are here in this moment at this place with these people to do a work for a mighty God. I feel it so strongly.
Don’t you dare settle for mediocrity. You need to be challenged and stretched. Constantly. If you aren’t, you will never grow. You will be like a 30 year old cramped up in a 7year old’s body. The parts don’t line up. When are you going to get up and put your hands to the work God has called you to? What are you waiting for? He has given you all you need to get the job done. If you don’t step up, He will call someone else. He uses the foolish to confuse the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). He uses the scrawny to take out the giants (David was the runt of the litter. 1 Samuel 17). He uses the poor in speech to lead His people (Moses stuttered. Exodus 4:10). He used a loosey goosey to protect the two spies Joshua sent to get an inside look on Jericho (Rahab was a prostitute. Joshua chapter 2).
God CAN use you. He WILL use you. And He WANTS to use you. Lay your life down and pick up His cross and follow Him. He will lead you into amazing and challenging places, but I guarantee you will find yourself on the other side of the river looking back praising Him for bringing you through and growing your faith. Let those embers be fanned and turn into a blazing fire. Burn, baby burn. Burn for Him. Shine for Him. Well hey, he died for you. It’s the least you can do to live passionately for Him. Right?
Living Life Unscripted,