I've hinted in some of my posts recently about a dissatisfaction I've had in the direction of our youth ministry lately. It's been really difficult to put my finger on it and understand what it really is, but I've just felt an uneasiness about the direction we were heading. Nothing major, nothing drastic, but a subtle sense that, as a youth ministry, we were becoming content. It seemed like we were just happy to be there ... to be with our friends ... to be out of the house ... whatever it may be, and I felt like we were slowly getting off course and losing "it" ... that passion to reach our friends, that passion to worship God, that passion to listen and then ask, "Ok, what do I need to do now?", that passion to create a place of belonging for EVERYONE who steps in to our building whether we know them or not. Over the past few months I've woken up at night burdened for our youth ministry, burdened for our kids, and asking God to help me know what to do.
This past Wednesday I think "it" came back to axis. I shared from my heart. I shared openly and honestly. I shared the history of axis and tried to show our kids that, no matter where we met, in a smelly basement or in a room so cool people are breaking in to steal stuff, our mission was ALWAYS the same: to create a place of belonging for EVERYONE so they can grow in a relationship with Jesus. And, I told our kids that if "it" is going to come back, we need to do 2 things: Ask God to forgive us or our selfishness (because it's our selfishness that keeps us from reaching out) and to beg God to use us to make a difference in the lives of our friends.
What happened next was simply God.
Kids came forward. Adults came forward. We fell on our faces and asked for God's forgiveness. We begged God to fill us up and send us out. I believe God refocused us as a youth ministry and truly moved among us. Some of the things kids said to me after the night:
- "Me and God definitely got a lot closer."
- "I was really encouraged to get out of my comfort zone."
- "My heart was broken and it made me realize how selfish I am."
- "What's the best book of the Bible to read about the stuff you talked about?"
In our senior high time we actually went 30 minutes longer than planned ... which didn't make some parents very happy. Agree or disagree, I wasn't going to stop what God was doing simply because it was 9:15pm.
I'm still humbled at what God did and so excited for our kids and our youth ministry. If you think of it, please take time to pray for us and our mission to reach teenagers. Pray for wisdom, creativity, passion, and for our purpose to be exactly what God wants us to do in Goshen, IN.