Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One Thing: Youth Ministry

I spent twelve hours of my Sunday with thirteen teenagers. On purpose.

{Today I'm linking up with my bloggy friend Brittney over at Razorback Britt for One Thing Tuesday. We're asked to filter through our rambling thoughts and focus on one thing on our minds. Today I'm writing about youth. Oh, youths.}

For the fifth year in a row, my husband and I took a group of kids from our church to join with kids from across Arkansas for the fall youth rally. This was the biggest group we have yet to take to an event during our tenure as youth ministers, and that trend doesn't seem to be slowing.

Wearing our crisp new shirts to portray a cohesive unit, we set our sights on Little Rock. In my car were five girls from different walks of life. Some came from the English Mass, some came from the Spanish. Some had been best friends for a few years, and others met for the first time that day. There was a senior and there were eighth-graders. Each one has a different home life, different backgrounds, and different struggles. Although I love listening to the keynote speaker at these events and then celebrating Mass with so many kids whose hearts are on fire, I think my favorite part is watching. If I pay close enough attention, I can see faith working in these kids.

I can see guards lower and real conversations start. I can see inside jokes that will turn into "remember that time at CYM?!" I can see friendships begin, crushes develop, and questions answered. I can see shy kids muster the strength to approach others and dynamic duos split to allow a third. The best part about all of these moments is their one common denominator.

When asked the reason behind jumping into such a busy volunteer position, I always say "I want to be a disciple making disciples." It's my go-to answer, but sometimes they're just words. Sometimes I don't really see the point. Then I have a group of students tell me they spent the night before praying together or another eager to tell me she said no in the face of temptation. Many of these kids don't go to the same school or see each other outside of church functions. However, I push for them to be a united front. The youth are not the future of our church, they are the church. I want to do whatever it takes to convince them of that. I want to convince them that they, too, can make disciples. They can encourage, they can support, they can love.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:19-20

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