Before I start out on this blog entry, I must thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement during our stressful time with Garrison. He is now HOME and doing very well! I've been telling people he's doing exactly what babies do...eating, sleeping, pooping and keeping us awake!
During our recent hospital stay, I learned that God can provide ministry opportunities even during difficult times...
I had called a friend of mine to let him know of a youth ministry opportunity, and he returned my call the day Garrison was born. This kid is "cream of the crop" in my books. I mean, he and his family are just precious people. He's been in youth ministry for a few years now (3 or 4?) and I believe God has, and will, use him in great ways.
So, my heart dropped when he told me, "Franklin, I'm thinking of getting out of youth ministry. I've never been so discouraged in all my life. I can't believe that people treat each other like this. Is this what Jesus died for?"
My heart immediately recalled some difficult times in my own ministry. There were dark moments where I felt the world was against me, and that nothing I did made any difference. I remember feeling like I had no friends and no support.
It kills me to hear of people dropping out of ministry. If this guy leaves, it will make TWO of my good friends that have now left.
Sometimes it's because of bad leadership. Sometimes it's because people are stubborn and won't follow a vision that's laid out before them. Sometimes it's because you've called people out for their shortcomings. And sometimes it's because of misconceptions and shortcomings on the youth minister's part.
Youth ministry is not easy. Caring for the souls of people can be a heartbreaking business. Many times you pour your life and love into people, and get "nada" in return.
If you are in that boat, hang in there. What doesn't seem to yield immediate results may be planting eternal seeds. Your patience and dependence on God is your greatest weapon.
Would you show some loving kindness to your youth minister today? (Please, I am asking this for other guys, and not myself! I am very well taken care of!!)
Write them a note, take them to lunch, volunteer to teach Junior High class (OK, maybe that's a bit much!) Tell them they are making a difference. Let them know you at least appreciate their efforts. PRAY FOR THEM. Pray WITH them! Spend time with them.