I have been finished with school for a long while, but being in youth ministry my calendar years run in school years. The “New Year” for me is when the teens head back to school and Life Teen and Edge kick off again. Freshman experience what it is like to be in high school, trying their best to fit in and not get lost. Seniors try to enjoy their year as the kings and queens with the added pressure of answering the question of what comes next. And, those of us in youth ministry begin anew trying to meet new teens, plan innovative Life Nights, and lead them to Christ.
With a new year comes plenty of transitions. Some of these changes might be dramatic—maybe you are new to being on Core and have no idea what this new ministry will bring. Maybe you are a new youth minister — hoping to make all your visions for your parish a reality. Maybe you are a long time Core Member who is serving with a new youth minister. Maybe the biggest change in your life is simply meeting the freshman class. I don’t know what sort of transition or change you are going through, but as big or small your transition seems to be, God is unchanging and faithful.
“For your mercy towers to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” Psalm 57:11
“But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
“For I, the LORD, do not change.” Malachi 3:6
What great consolation this is! This fall I had my own transition—staring a new job in a new city. As I was telling a friend about this change, I remarked how this transition has reminded me that God is unchanging — especially when everything else is changing. I may not feel settled, but God is a rock that doesn’t move. God cannot be shaken. Thus in the midst of transition, we can look to Christ to keep us grounded.
No matter what sort of transition you are going through, here are some ideas to help navigate the change.
Christ – Centered
Keep Christ as the center of your life. When we are trying to get a handle on something new, it can take a lot of our energy and focus. At times our desire to transition with perfection means we make the new thing (role/job/task) the center of our lives. It’s not bad to want to do well, but as Christians, we must remember that Christ must be primary and be our central goal no matter what.
Knee – Time
Keep up your prayer life. A transition can wreck havoc on what was a “normal” schedule, which means that things like regular prayer times may get thrown off. Do your best to make sure your prayer life stays intact. As I was getting ready to start my new job my spiritual director imparted strongly that I needed to make a plan right away about when I would pray. The longer we go, the harder it will be to fit it into what has become a new routine.
Trust in the Lord. If you have prayerfully discerned that you are where you need to be, do not fear. The Lord has a plan. Do your best to stay faithfully committed to what He has called you. Remember, “It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8