Friday, June 10, 2005

can you hang?

I guess one of my gifts as a student minister is my ability to connect with teenagers. Some, including my wife, would say I am just a big kid anyway. I don't know if you have ever talked to someone who has no real idea about what youth ministry is. Sometimes just explaining it to outsiders is pretty difficult.

"So like you, just talk and hang out, with teenagers?" (Are you crazy?)

"So your job is like planning trips and keeping them busy?"
(I cant believe it, he's a 2nd rate travel agent/babysitter)

"So you watch MTV, Cartoon Network and play video games still?"
(He thinks this is a career?)

I have to admit it that sometimes it can be pretty amazing, next week I will be at a Survivor themed camp living on a houseboat and doing Survivor-esque challenges. AND IT WILL BE A WORK WEEK! That will not be the opinion of some though, they will hear lake, houseboat, games and think, boy he's got it made.

Those same people however will not take the next step and think it thru. This is a middle school camp. That means 6th and 7th grade boys. In a small living space for a whole week. My eyes burn with the thought of the odors that I will be wafting.

The sacrifice is only a part of the job though. Believe or not (if your reading this you most likely do) God will move in middle school boys. I know most adults believe, and acuratley so sometimes, that 11-13 year old boys can be demon incarnate. Their lives however are alot like floating on an icy river atop a small iceberg, barely bigger than your feet. There is little stability with changes happening to them and around them all the time. Yet when they finally do get a picture of the true living God suddenly they see some solid land. And those same crazy boys will jump onto it if they can.

This though is where some people would actually give youth ministers credit. "what do you say to them?". "I could never do that." Truth is, that for me, its not been about what I have said but just listening, then somehow God puts it all together for them and they know what to do, and what questions to ask, almost setting us up as youth pastors. (imagine that, God solving our problems!)

So its this part which is the real reward, not playing PS2 and XBOX. Or watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force so you know the lingo. Or even memorizing Napolean Dynamite. Watching God swoop down from His glorious throne and bring stability to tumultuos lives. This is where you find out if you can hang, not just hang out, but hang on, and watch God, trying not to get in the way.

1 comment:

Robbie said...

I work with Jr. Highers too, and I have to say that sometimes I'm completely amazed at what God is doing through me in their lives, let alone what God is doing in my life through them. That moment when you see the lights go on and that guy or girl truly gets it, will never cease to amaze me.