I never ever thought I'd see the day that I was involved in Student Ministry. Even when I WAS a student I didn't much care for being a part of the youth group.
God stretches Devan. And this was the progression:
Age 14. "My mom is pregnant." Panic.
Age 15. "I now have a baby brother (Greyson). I AM NOT A BUILT IN BABYSITTER. #nope"
Age 17. "I'm never having kids. These creatures are terrible."
Age 19. "This guy (Josh) is so sweet! Maybe someday.... nah. Life is hard with kids."
Age 20. "I'm pregnant."
Age 21. "I have a child with special medical needs." If that doesn't soften your heart, you're a robot.
Age 23. "Greyson has developed into a not-so-terrible creature after all." Carter loves him, too.
Age 25. "Greyson is almost a teenager." He's figuring things out. Experiencing our worldly culture. I worry about his future. I'm such a mom. My instincts kick in, and I decide to start helping my mom shuttle him to student events with Church of the Highlands. I decide to join the team because, well, it's easier to stay and help than to drive back and forth. Plus, MOTION Night, #duh.
Age 26. I've only been 26 for a few days, but it was made so blatantly clear to me recently how invested I am in our Student Team. They serve with such excellence, and truly love every kid that comes their way.
God has softened and shaped my heart, and a big hunk of it is now wholly devoted to the youth of our cities. I know we hear "the next generation" often, but really think about it. What does our future look like if we don't instill Godly morals and decent ethics into our youth? Who is leading our country? Who is dominating the business industry? Who is shepherding our churches? Friends, it's these kids! These sometimes-annoying, overly-dramatic, precious-beyond-words students that are toughing it out every day in broken homes and wayward schools. These are children that worry about moms and dads fighting, older sisters losing their apartment, and grandparents that are in bad health. There is no sheltering this youth. They are SMART. They have the world at their fingertips with technology. They need direction. They need guidance. They need the ones that have gone before them to model good behavior and to own their past decisions and admit that bad choices breed consequences. Hear this - you DO NOT have to be perfect to shepherd people. Grace will show up and fill the gap when you feel least employable for ministry.
1. Model worship and reverence during services. Forget your to-do list and the coffee you didn't drink yet... lose yourself in worship to our King! Give Him what He's worthy of, and then give more. In giving, in song, and in prayer.
2. Tell a student you're praying for them - and do it! Commit to daily prayer for them, and ask them for specifics to pray about.
3. Pray for your Student Team. Please do this! We need it more than you can imagine.
4. If you have students, get them involved! It will change their life.
5. Lead a Small Group for Students. This is ridiculously easy, and even more so if you have a child that's involved. Open up your home for board games. Pick a park and play frisbee or flag football. Take over a Dairy Queen and have Blizzards with Bible study. Small groups are imperative for students to build relationships with other students who deal with the same details of life.
I'm a prime example of God's calling on your life not being what's expected, or even what makes sense. And if you have a heart for students, hit me up and I'll help you get plugged in.
The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Psalm 92:12-15