Shortly after resigning from my position of youth ministry at Sunshine, one of my former students popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. Usually, I am unfazed by some of the craziness I see as I have made it a personal policy to allow my young friends to live and grow spiritually at their own designated pace. This time was different. Their post struck a chord with me and I found myself questioning all of my previous youth work.
“God, I know a lot of people don’t get to see the fruit of their ministry but I’m asking you to just give me a glimpse to know I didn’t waste my time. Can I just see one or two of my former students on fire for you? I don’t need to see perfection, they don’t even have to be doing ministry, just something to show me it all mattered.”
A couple of years later, I returned to Sunshine as a worker and I found a few former students serving in our elementary programs. A few months later, they were leading them! Not only were they leading elementary, but more students also joined them and began taking over other departments of our youth programming. My former students became my peers in ministry work and it has honestly been one of the highlights of my career.
What struck me most about my conversation with Australia, Jeremiah, and Mariah is their acknowledgement of the tribe God used to shape their lives. It’s a great reminder for all our journeys. Not one of us will see true mental or spiritual maturity apart from the team of folks that are dedicated to our success. My co-worker’s growth was not a work of my own accord, it was a move of God’s Spirit through various individuals. The end-product may not be lifelong ministry professionals, but it is present members of a new tribe for more youth. I am thankful that they answered the call and my prayers.
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
2 Timothy 2:2 NIV