30 Days of Blogging - Day 4: Youth Ministry

Apparently the lesson from day 2 didn't fully sink in yet... Especially taking into account that on Fridays I'm rarely home before midnight thanks to Youth. Case in point... It is 1:40am and I'm finally home.

So technically I missed making a post on day 4, but I haven't fallen asleep yet so the day isn't really over.

I'm gonna let it slide.

Anyways, what I really want to talk about today is the Youth Ministry. I've mentioned it on the blog before, but I don't think I've ever really explained anything about it.  Allow me to timeline it for you now...

12 year old Emmi joins the Youth Group. She's young, she's shy, and she's going through a lot (at least it feels like it).  This year she misses a lot of school because of still unexplained health issues and ends up dropping out of the public school mid-semester and opting for correspondence.  Youth, though she doesn't feel like she fits in, becomes a very important part of weekly life.

The Youth ministry is an ever evolving thing, with Youth Leaders changing out semi-regularly and the Youth themselves growing up and out of the age bracket. Young Emmi grows up too and gets progressively more and more involved in different ministries at the church. She becomes less shy, though it still pops up every now and then, and life continues to be tough, though when isn't it, really?

Eventually the new batch of youngens grows up into the age bracket, but the gap in ages is uncomfortably big (at least it feels like it). But Leaders are few, so the older girls, myself included, become the Senior Youth and we proceed to be our own leaders. (It seemed like a good idea at the time...). I really enjoyed this quasi leadership thing, though in retrospect, I was sorely unqualified.

Young Emmi is finally 18/19 and begins to be involved as a leader-in-training for the Junior Youth. Which is to say I showed up, because there really wasn't much training being done. The leadership in this time was strong. It was awesome.

We lose a lot of youth and leaders to church switching. In the spring I begin to think I'm too young to be taking on as much leadership as is suddenly being expected of me, and I share this with my fellow remaining youth leaders. God must have had other plans though, because within a month suddenly I was the ONLY 'senior' leader left. For the remaining month and a half before summer, me and the older youth were just figuring it out as we went.

I find myself being the 'most experienced' youth leader that we have.  I make it work. Each year I'd get a new batch of bible school student, and we figured it out. There were always a couple of months where the college students would be done their schooling (and thusly, off on their merry way) and the senior youth, myself, and whomever felt called to be involved would make sure that the Ministry stayed alive.

I become the official Youth President.  There are many months where I am literally the only leader. I learn more than ever before what it means to rely on God.  I rarely feel like I'm the leader the group needs or deserves; I just happen to be the one it has. I do my best. I develop more meaningful relationship with as many youth as I can, and truly this of period of time is the utmost highlight of the whole experience. I was (and still am) not even close to the ideal leader. But this period gave me the opportunity to actually devote my time to the youth and not to having to manage a bunch of here-today-gone-tomorrow college students, and my life was filled with the blessing of friendships with a lot of awesome people.

I've handed over the reins to the next up-and-comer (sad to say, he probably feels the same way I felt in the position) in preparation for leaving (eventually, someday, hopefully).  I'm still there, doing mostly the same things, just less involved in the planning and responsibility.

It has been on my mind a lot lately how the last several years were certainly life-changing and totally invaluable to my growth and the growth of a lot of the Youth, but at the same time, I wish it could have been different.

More training, stronger/wiser leadership, less apathetic youth and leaders, more gospel fire.  I don't even know.

I'm praised (for lack of a better word) for my commitment and steadfastness, and the impact I've had on the youth.

But I can't help but wonder how much more could have been done if the years had not gone as they did.

I'm equal parts sad, and proud, and encouraged, and scared, and satisfied, and disheartened, and worried, and hopeful.  Which is a really annoying headspace to be in.

I love my little youth group, I hope I've done and continue to do them well.

Until later today, Lovelies.


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