In January 2020, Ginny and I decided to take the leap into youth ministry at Northside. I didn’t know a pandemic was on the way. I had no classical training. All I knew was God was opening doors and I was eager to walk through them.
I have learned a lot over my three plus years in ministry. I’ve learned how to play games and teach class on Zoom. I’ve learned traditions are often sacred and you should be careful when changing them. I’ve learned I have a deep love for the upcoming generation and that they have many admirable traits. The list goes on and on. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned over my short time in ministry is that ministry is impossible to accomplish alone.
I started out thinking I could do everything on my own if I just worked hard enough, but soon came to realize that there was an infinite number of good things to be doing and that it was hard to prioritize what should come first. I had so many volunteers ready to work, but I didn’t want to overburden anyone, so I kept trudging forward and becoming more and more flustered with the scope of an important job. I was blessed to have patient volunteers who walked alongside me the whole time, ready and willing to do anything needed to love and serve our teens. I started to realize that many of the talents they had were far greater than my own. They were planners, mentors, nurturers, builders, and confidants. I began to realize I wasn’t the only minister seeking what is best for our teens, and that’s when things began to make much more sense.
One of the definitions of ministry is simply “the act of serving.” I look around now and see ministers everywhere! I see Jamie Womack planning all the youth group meals with an amazing team and letting me know immediately when I have forgotten something important. I see Abbie Griffith planning service projects and sharing her love for serving others with the next generation. I see 19 small group leaders who have a deep desire to know our teens on a personal level and who truly care about their eternal souls. I see Ernie Stephens joining us at devotionals and making sure the building is safe and secure even when I’m not there. I see an entire team of trusted adults who were ready to take over every Spring Break event the minute I needed it when my dad was in the hospital.
I could go on for days and list all the wonderful men and women of God who selflessly take it upon themselves to invest in the future of our church and community by their acts of service to our teens. At Northside, we are blessed to have ministers everywhere, using talents to be part of the body of Christ. I am so privileged to know and work with them all, and I will forever be grateful for their grace and wisdom as I began my journey in ministry.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:10-13)
I am encouraged by so many who take this verse to heart. What a privilege to serve alongside each of you!