I'm blogging from a large mall in Houston, TX. I'm typing on my iPhone. I'm here helping lead 40 middle school kids on a service trip. This week I was reminded why I love youth ministry. The crazy thing is, six years ago I told my wife that it was time for me to begin transitioning to adult ministry. Yet here I sit, with an overwhelming love for these people stuck between childhood and adulthood.
Here are some highlights from my week:
1. A teen with autism stopped me this morning to brush my hair. He finished with saying, "There we go" and then went to brush a kid's hair who was using the urinal.
2. Last night I found myself in an impromptu techno dance off. The dance was abruptedly cut off when my neck spontaneously cramped up and I fell the he ground in pain. I couldn't help but cry from the laughter that ensued (or was it the pain?).
3. I met a kid named Isaac and he talked to me about prayer being like breathing.
Few people stay in youth ministry long enough to make deep impacts. They acquire wisdom and insight to loving adolescents well but leave as soon as a sexy position opens up in adult ministry. Even if I do become a senior pastor one day I cannot imagine myself staying away from dance offs or food fights or conversations about finding hope in the sheol that is middle school. I'm hooked.
Last week my spiritual director told me "as we parent well we heal." To parent well one must be completely aware of his/her weaknesses. This enables said parent to be fully engaged. The same goes for ministry. As I minister well I heal. Somewhere between collapsing during the dance and having my hair combed by a kid I experienced the transformation and healing of Christ.
I think I'm just getting started.