I have noticed over the last few weeks that nearly all my youth minister friends’ Facebook statuses have been about some ministry event they for which they are getting ready or from which they have just arrived back home. Clearly, the amount of events—camps, conferences, and social nights—have ramped up exponentially over the summer months. We pack our calendar so that our teens can grow in closer to Christ.
Last week, I was reminded that these events can also help me grow in holiness, too. Of course, the angle of the growth for an adult chaperone is a bit different.
During our annual mission trip within our local Diocese, one evening we heard a talk given by one of the other youth ministers on the topic of suffering. It opened up great discussion for small group time with the teens that could have lasted way past lights out. One thing he managed to share within the talk was how the suffering of that very mission week (which he incurred by spending the week, not on mission, but with the teens 24/7) was helping him grow in holiness (interesting approach for a talk aimed at the teens).
In the talk, he shared how excited he was that he could grow in holiness when the teens got incredibly irritating, lazy, or made poor decisions during the week. He could use that suffering for good; he could see God at work in him.
“We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Romans 5: 3-5
It was very easy to apply this lesson immediately, as in the very next day. As much as I love taking teens on these trips, it certainly is a chance to ask the Holy Spirit to help me grow in all those fruits from Galatians 5—love, joy, peace, patience, patience, patience!
Although patience may have been the area the Lord wanted me to grow in last week, the whole concept made me wonder what the Lord has in store for me over the upcoming weeks and weekends, as I continue to keep up the hectic summer pace.
Certainly, we as Core Members and youth ministers will grow from participating in many of the same activities that are for the youth—praise and worship, Adoration, and quality talks. Yet, we know that that is just a side benefit of going on these trips. We are there primarily as adult leaders and chaperones. Although we do not attend these events for ourselves, the Lord still desires to use our offering of time and energy as an opportunity for us to grow, too. While the teens may be getting tons out of a talk, we might be getting tons out of chaperoning. Is not the Lord good!? He uses all that we offer to help draw us to Himself!
We all know that it is important to help the teens process through a retreat or mission experience. Where did they see God? What did they learn? How did they grow? What will they take home? We need to ask ourselves the same questions. So, in the weeks and weekends ahead at youth ministry events, although my primary role will be to help the teens grow in faith, I want to make sure that I take some time (when things slow down) to reflect on how the Lord is working in my own life through these events, too.
How is God moving in you this summer?