from our weekly updates/devotion for our youth ministry
I’m in my last week of my 40 day prayer journey and the one thing that constantly kept coming back to me as I was praying was, MOVE. I didn’t know what that meant. Move? So vague. I was pretty sure that God wasn’t telling me to move, as in, pack my bags and leave Awesometown. At least not yet. I mean, dude (as I often call God in my prayers), I haven’t even been here for a year.
No. God didn’t mean that kind of move.
It wasn’t until this past Sunday, I finally got what God meant. Actually, let me be honest. It wasn’t until this past Sunday, I accepted and listened to (read: stopped ignoring) what God was saying.
Let me take you back a bit, so that you can get the whole story. If you don’t know me by now, it’s good to know that I’m painfully honest and transparent. Maybe to a point that it’s harmful more than helpful…
The word “paralyzed” probably describes it best. For the most part, the jr. high ministry is doing well. The kids are responding. Our Unpaid Volunteers (or Soul Shapers) are teaching God’s Word. The kids are hearing it. Whether they’re listening to it can be debated :), but they’re there. And they’re bonding. Growing. Maturing.
Then there are the high schoolers. A flourishing group, that is until I came. Or, until school activities consumed them. Either way, I took it as a reflection of me. I didn’t know what to do. To tell you the truth, it was very tempting to let the senior high ministry just be, and focus all of my energy on the jr. high. But, I refused, refused, to think that way. It would be a betrayal of the students that I came to know and love and to who I am as a person. I can’t give up that easily.
There was a huge load of work ahead of me. The Korean word is “Jung” (정) and it translates into “spirit”/”essence”, and I felt that our “jung” didn’t quite match. My “jung” was different from the Sr. High’s.
So. I would sit hours in Starbucks, visioning, and planning and writing out my thoughts and ideas. The reason why it was easier with the Jr. Highers was that I got to work with a clean slate. The Sr. Highers had 5 years (an eternity in many youth ministries) of love and care from the youth guy before me, who was far better than me at the craziness and silliness that the youth ministry needs. How to meet on the middle ground?
That was my battle. I spoke to the senior pastor about the fears welling up inside me. He assured me that it wasn’t because of me that we saw this dramatic drop of kids. It was nice to hear. I only partly believed him.
Something in me said that one of the best ways to get things moving was through service projects. So, with the help of a few adults, I researched the perfect outreach project. In this world, perfect is hard to find. But I knew it had to be out there. And I kept searching. Along the same lines, I knew that the perfect solution for the senior high ministry had to be out there too. So I kept reading books, articles and blogs to find the perfect solution.
Then came this past Sunday. In the 2nd worship, during the call to stewardship, I said that the passage that we read from, and the passage that was referred to in a testimony given by a church member were from the book called Acts, or in its entirety: Acts of the Apostles. It isn’t called Watching of the Apostles, or Sitting of the Apostles, but the Acts of the Apostles, because these men and women acted upon their faith.
Ah. There it was. Acts. The book of Acts also wasn’t called The Researching for the Perfect Solution of the Apostles either.
Move. God meant, stop thinking, stop planning, stop visioning, and start doing. Start moving. Just do something, instead of thinking about it.
One of my terrible weaknesses is staying in my head too much. I like to vision, I like to think, I like to plan, so much so, that ends up taking most of my time. Being in my head. But I can’t always be stuck in my thoughts. Sometimes, we just gotta do something. Anything.
You may have looked in your Bibles to see what Acts 29 is about, only to find that there are only 28 chapters of Acts.
We’re gonna add to the story of the apostles and be the continuing story of the Acts of the Apostles, after all, the word Apostle basically means “one who is sent” and we are all sent by God.
Instead of finding the best project available, we’re just going to continue the tradition of making sandwiches and heading out to LA. May be next time to San Fernando Valley, as well.
Instead of trying to research the best solution, we’re just gonna go old school, and like Paul, win the hearts of people through actions spurred by God’s love and grace.
I know what I’m good at. I know what I’m not. So I’m hoping to find people along the way to balance out my weaknesses and others to be better at the things I am good at.
In the mean time, it’s time to get moving. And less talking.
I do have a vision for our youth, both high school and jr. high. Now it’s time to move and act on them, one step at a time, one heart at a time.
So be patient with me please. Change is brewing in the air.
I don’t know how things will turn out, but I do know that I want every kid to feel loved and welcomed.
So while we work on writing Acts chapter 29, may our prayer be: “God, equip us where we are weak. Humble us, where we are strong.”
And may we continue on our journey of making a difference in the lives of people through the grace and love of God.