This past week, at our high school Youth Group meeting, I reminded the students that I am going to be ordained this coming Sunday. I tried to explain what ordination is, and invited them to attend.
Jim: Wait, does that mean you’re not a pastor already?
Me: Correct, but after this Sunday, I will be.
Jim: So does that mean that everything you’ve been teaching us has been garbage up to this point?
Ironically, what followed was not the best lesson of the year. It was an odd night where things didn’t flow well, mostly because everyone was so quiet. Another reason it didn’t go well we due to the fact that some of the kids really weren’t there for the Bible study. One guy sat in the back corner and barely took his eyes off his phone. Another guy sat in the front row, and never took his eyes off his drawing.
There were others in the room who were mostly engaged, but it was a struggle. Sometimes I wonder why certain students show up. I honestly think one or two show up because there is food and WIFI (which I’m turning off next week). There are moments of connection with these students, but really they seem to want to be left alone (which I refuse to do).
Other kids show up because of the relationships they have formed. One guy, who rarely participates in Bible discussion, will talk my ear off for hours. He tells me just about anything and knows I won’t judge him. He just wants someone to listen.
Every student is there for a reason. Whether they know it or not, God is at work in their lives. Jesus is whispering to them, beckoning them to himself. The seeds of the gospel are being planted in their hearts, and it is only a matter of time until the Holy Spirit breaks through the walls they’ve built up. My prayer is that God will move quickly to claim them for his own.
What excites me is when I see God doing just that!
Last night at 180 I saw some evidence of God at work. Every week we spend about ten to fifteen minutes singing. While not every student will sing, at least a third of the group participates whole heartedly. I can honestly say there is something very refreshing and uplifting about seeing kids sing loud praises to Jesus. What was especially cool last night, was that during one song, three of the girls came up front and helped lead the group. Kids leading kids!
I also heard great stories last night from one of the small group leaders who shared that her group was very engaged with the lesson. They were asking questions, and digging even deeper into the topic to better understand Jesus.
Finally, I saw God at work in the 15 passenger van as we brought kids home. If you ever want to see an odd assortment of kids, peek into our van. Last night, kids from all ages and backgrounds were having fun together in that van. At one point a bunch of them poured into my driveway, as I dropped my children off, for an impromptu snow fight. It may seem like a small thing, but when I see kids of all races and backgrounds playing together, I see a glimpse of God’s kingdom breaking through.
I don’t know why every kid shows up for our ministries, but I know God has them there for a reason. I know God is working in their hearts and it is just a matter of time until they encounter the amazing love of Jesus.