In two days, I leave for the greatest place on earth – Church Camp. Five glorious days of not being “mommy”, no cooking, no housework, no wi-fi, no social media distractions, and most importantly 5 days of watching God work in young people’s lives. I’ve been to Disney World, and trust me camp is better!
Not only am I going to church camp, I am going to church camp in Wales. I am going to church camp in Wales with an amazing group of teenagers. These kids really are special. They love God and they want to see Him work in their lives and their friends’ lives. Do they do dumb things sometimes? Of course, they are teenagers. Do they do things that disappoint me? Of course, they are human. Regardless of any of that, I love their hearts and I love their passion.
Passion is something you cannot fake. I love seeing a person’s eyes come alive when they start talking about something they love. Brian and I have a name for this, we call it the person’s “Youth ministry and Ice Cream”. When we were first married and starting our very first job in ministry we loved to brainstorm and talk about ideas to do with our group. One day as we were talking, we happened to walk into a little ice cream shop with homemade ice cream AND fresh homemade waffle cones. My husband loves teenagers, but my husband LOVES good ice cream. The speed at which he was talking and the lights in his eyes were remarkable. He was in his “happy place” as some would call it. Since that day when we see someone get really excited about a topic we call it their “youth ministry and ice cream” reaction.
Why are we passionate about youth ministry? The teenage years are such a pivotal time in life. For any of us past those years, we can probably look back and see at least one decision we made during that time that has had a lasting impact on our entire life. Teenage years are hard. There are so many questions about the future, friends, relationships, self worth, and just life in general. Problems and real life don’t wait until you are all grown-up to start.
Another thing that doesn’t wait until you are grown-up to start: God’s Love. I love teenagers because God loves teenagers. I love telling young people that God loves them, because it is the only answer that will make a real difference in their life.
When I see a young person who truly grasps this — that understands that God loves them and that is the most important relationship in their life — I get excited. This group of teenagers at Libanus excites me. And I get to spend a whole week with them!
Of course there will be other teenagers there that don’t “get this” yet, and I pray I get to be a witness as they begin to hear about and understand God’s love for the first time. I love being a mom and I will miss my babies like CRAZY, but the only thing that would make me leave them for an entire week is the anticipation of seeing God work in and through lives in a mighty way.
Just in case you think I abandoned my “Top 5” series, I didn’t. There is no way to do the Top 5 Things I Love about Ministry in one post. So consider this a start —
Top 5 Reasons I Love This Ministry:
1. THE YOUTH
Their talent! (This is a crazy talented group of kids we are working with in so many different areas)
Their ability to have fun anytime, anywhere.
Their desire to see others come to know, love, and follow God.
Their own love for God.
The group of kids we have right now are not perfect, they really are not even close to perfect. But God loves them, (He loved them so much He sent His Son to die for them!) So I love them. I love them when they disappoint me. I love them when they do stupid things. I love them when they say stupid things. I love them when they are mean. I also love them when they just “get it”. I love them when they reach out to others. I love them when they display humility. I love them when they make me proud.
God, Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to spend an entire week investing in some ordinary kids made extraordinary by Your Love.