Almost a year ago there was a need for a new youth worship leader, and therefore I was thrust into a whole new world. I thought, “I’ve led worship for years. This’ll be easy!” Famous last words.
I committed to a year of serving in youth, leading worship and leading a small group for the junior & senior girls.
I was so stoked at first, excited to make some much needed changes and see the students grow in not only their music abilities, but in their hearts for the Lord. And then things got real. I realized that leading worship for women’s retreats, church services and special events was filled with pats on the back and praise for a job well done. Youth worship had none of that. I remember thinking, “This is harder than leading worship in jail! At least the incarcerated are happy to see me!”
Something happened that I wasn’t expecting. Something that takes great humiliation to admit. It didn’t happen right away, but it was slow and sneaky. As I was winding up cords and turning off lights all by myself after service, I thought, “Nobody even notices what I’m doing. Nobody appreciates this; youth ministry is a thankless job!” While that may be true at times, I let this momentary discontentment in my heart grow like a cancer, and I lost sight of what I had set out to do. It changed from an opportunity to a burden, from a blessing to a chore. This tumor of doubt grew to a point that it started effecting the way I responded to the Lord and those I had set out to serve.
Youth ministry is like a picture of organic farming.
I’m not really an all organic, non GMO, raw milk drinking mama…but bear with me as I paint this picture. In order for a plant to thrive, the soil needs to be tilled; the seed needs to be planted, watered, warmed by the sun, and weeds need to be tamed. And at just the right time, that plant will flourish. When serving young people, sometimes you till, sometimes you plant, water, warm or tame weeds, and none of that is wasted. All of it leads to a healthy, nourished and fully mature plant that will bear beautiful fruit.
How hilarious it would be, if with every seed a farmer planted, he announced, “I’m planting a seed! Just planted another one! Oh look, now I’m WATERING a seed! Aaaaaand I just pulled a weed, yay, me!” Sounds silly, right, but it’s the same as me wishing that someone would come up and congratulate me on a job well done. I was saddened by how deep I had let that bitterness sink in and only by acknowledging it before the Lord was I refilled with that passion I started with, but now reborn with a new excitement! I get to be part of the growing process, what a privilege!
Have you been in a place where you were so excited to start a new ministry or church or small group?
It was SO clear in your mind how things should go, until they didn’t, and then things got blurry and boring and burdensome. In the words of Ice Cube, “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Don’t lose the vision just because it didn’t come to fruition as fast as you wanted it to. Zechariah 4:10 says, “Don’t despise the small beginnings.” Be faithful in whatever you have been called to do, knowing that the timing of the fruit isn’t up to you, but God! Do your part then sit and watch Him work!