- Five loaves and two fish… (Jn 6:9-13)
- A rib… (Gen 2:22)
- Five smooth stones… (1 Sam 17:40-52)
- The jawbone of an ass… (Jgs 15:15-17)
- A handful of flour and some oil in a jug… (1 Kgs 17:12-14)
- Spit… (Jn 9:6-11)
- A shadow… (Acts 5:15)
God has always been the Master of doing a lot with very little. He still is.
Recently a Youth Minister contacted me about bringing teens to our annual Life Teen Leadership Conference. He was wondering if it was worth the money since he only had three teens he was going to bring.
He wanted to know what it was going to cost, which is a valid question…but the wrong one. Prudence isn’t always about finding the right answer but about asking the right question.
I asked him, “Are you trying to figure out if it’s worth it to the parish or to God?”
When it comes to youth ministry it’s never an expense – it’s an investment.
Does it take some extra time and effort and money to get teens to events like camps, or Leadership Training, Mission Trips, or Youth Conferences? Of course it does. It takes sacrifice. It takes chasing teens down for permission slips and shaking the parish bushes to help raise funds.
Do these experiences of the larger Church – beyond the parish – give teens life-altering, soul-shaking, heart-changing encounters with Christ through the Sacraments, worship, activities and sessions? Absolutely they do and that’s why we offer them. It’s work for us, too – a lot of work, but that work in the vineyard pales in comparison to the fruit these experiences can bear.
- Is it worth the time to help three young souls encounter Christ in deep and profound way at a Leadership Conference? Yes. Those three souls can light a spiritual fire the likes of which the parish has never seen.
- Is it worth it for a half dozen teens to head off to camp for a week? Again, absolutely it is worth it. The experiences that teens have at camp are unrivaled on their faith journey.
- Is it worth it to take “only a carload” of teens to a Youth Conference when buses are pulling up in the parking lot? Yes! If you want your teens to have a powerful encounter of God it is worth it.
Loaves and fish, a rib, some spit…God doesn’t need much to radically change peoples’ lives forever.
We get in the way. We are the ones who “need to see the plan” before we take a step out in faith. Peter didn’t – yet he is often mocked for his “lack of faith.”
God needs only to hear our “yes” – our invitation for Him to exceed our wildest dreams. Don’t get stuck counting the cost…envision the rewards, the return on your investment.
Learn about summer events for teens and youth ministers. Brought to you by Life Teen and Edge.