Its that time of the year! When some of the volunteers that committed to serving this year, committed to leading a small group and investing in the lives of a student decide…. JUST KIDDING! That is probably a bit unfair to say, but it is pretty common time for volunteers to recognize a few months in that they might have bitten off more than they can chew and decide to step down from their role. As disapointing as it is, we need to quickly change our focus and try and recruit someone new to fill that role.

I can remember a time I was meeting with a youth worker who was in serious need of youth leaders after a few leaders on his already skeleton staff stepped down mid-season. He shared a very real feeling of desperation and a feeling is natural and reflected often in the Bible, through people like Moses or David in Psalm 142 amongst many others. Desperation is a part of ministry and I am thankful that I was able to encourage him, pray for him in his desperation as he asked God to bring him new leaders. He was not alone in the hunt the Church had his back, and Sunday after Sunday they announced the desperate need in the Youth Ministry for volunteers. Yet week after week no one stepped up and I have a feeling of why this might be the case.

When I think back to the days in high school when I was a single fella, and what woud I have done if a girl from my class announced that she was single. Not only was she single, she was desperate for a boyfriend, I mean DESPERATE for a boyfriend. Lets just say I would be running in the other direction. Desperation is not an attractive trait, and when I hear that a ministry is desperate for volunteers, my mind starts to wonder why? Is there dysfunction or unhealth? Why does no one want to serve? There are lot of questions that would go through my mind. I am convinced that people are more likely act on an opportunity to serve than to react to a desperate situation. Framing it in a positive light as a challenge and not a problem will be much more invitational because people take on challenges, they avoid problems.

The feelings of desperation are legit, having a complete reliance on God is essential, but be careful how you communicate your need. You want the right volunteer to feel called to serve that is a long term solution, not a plug in a hole in your ministry for a short season.

-Geoff – (Twitter)

 

This week I was reminded of one of the most important things God has ever shown me in my life: my calling to youth ministry. I was reading the book of Joshua, and came into chapter 24 with more than a little expectation, seeing that my life verse (v15) is contained therein. As I read the chapter, something new and powerful stood out to me like never before. It was just what I needed to hear, especially in a season of being OK with being OK and honestly, coasting a little in ministry here at the end of the school year.

In the passage, God says, “I gave you Abraham (v2) … I gave you Isaac (v3) … I gave you Jacob and Esau (v4) … I gave you Moses and Aaron (v5) … and finally, I brought you (v8) … Joshua, to lead Israel.

In that moment, Joshua must have had this realization that HE is part of Israel’s incredible legacy. He looks at the past and realizes he doesn’t deserve to even be mentioned with those people, much less leading their followers. He gulps with humility at the weight of this realization.

God used all of these incredible people … and now He has chosen you, Joshua.

That’s what I needed to hear. God used all of these incredible people … and now He has chosen you, Joshua. When I look at the legacy of youth ministry at our church and across the world, I realize that I don’t deserve to be a footnote on their Wikipedia page. But God has made His choice. I’m supposed to lead. He’s prepared me for this moment. My job is to invite people to choose their path (v24) – to serve the gods of this world or to serve the God of the Universe. Every so often I seem to subconsciously test my calling to my church and test if God is finished with me in the place He last put me. I heard from Him loud and clear this week … I am CALLED. Even though there may be more wins than losses this past season (there have been). Even though I don’t always feel like being a pastor (which I have felt too much recently). Even when I screw things up and have to own it (did that, too). I. Am. Called.

And so are you. God has used amazing people in your church to lead students to Him. And now God has chosen you. You are the next person to carry the mantle of leadership to your people. He has called you. Don’t know what you might face this weekend or are battling in your spirit – but please realize you are CALLED by God to do His work. He could have chosen anyone! He chose you. He brought you to that church. He brought you here for this moment. He wants you to rise up and lead the people. Just like Joshua.

Honored to share in that amazing calling with you, my friends.

JG