I love a good irony, especially when the irony is about me. In my last post, Storms In Life, I wrote about friends of mine who were about to go through hard times. The irony is that I wrote that post a few days before a huge storm hit me: my youth pastor is leaving. He's been called by God to plant a new church. He won't be far, since it's in the same city, but he's going to leave. I fully support him and what God's calling him to do, but I mourn that he's not going to be my youth pastor anymore. This is really hard for me, not because I'm mad or bitter, but because I'm so close to him. It's hard to think that I won't see him every Wendesday and Sunday. It's saddens me that though he'll still be around town and I'll see him occasionally and still talk to him some, he won't be such a big leader in my life anymore.
I've never had a church leader leave. This will be something I've never had to battle before, so I'm nervous and inexperienced. I keep asking, What now? What next? Who's the new guy gonna be? One thing that I never considered about my future is that my youth pastor wouldn't be at my church. I feel a little lost and don't know in which direction to go now.
But I believe God works for the good of all who love Him (Romans 8:28), so I believe it's to our benefit, then, that he leaves. I don't know how and it sounds rude, but Scripture says it, so I believe it. And I'm already dreaming of what I can do in the youth group in the transition period between youth pastors. Like every youth group, there are some at my church who aren't Christians. What if their peers and fellow students started to talk about how great God is, about how much fun and fulfilling it is to be His, about how living a Rebelutionary and radical life is the best life to live? Maybe they'll take it differently. We all know that it's easier to get excited about something when your friends love it. I'm dreaming of a youth-led youth group, if only temporarily.
I'm really encouraged because a lot of adults and friends are telling me I should step up and be a leader in the youth group, now that the youth pastor is leaving. At first, that scared me, because I thought youth groups were never led by the youth. But what would help everyone better if we led and helped each other? Wouldn't that create the best relationships? Wouldn't it open the doors for accountability, friendship, and love?
A few months ago, my youth pastor tried to implement "ministry teams". The ministry teams were basically youth assigned to do certain roles, like run the youth cafe, or lead worship, or keep the room clean, or update the announcement board. It was a way for my youth pastor to really only worry about speaking, teaching, and planning events. The ministry teams weren't as successful as planned, But I think they might be the groundwork for something revolutionary. What if we used the idea of ministry teams to lead the youth ministry during the search for the new youth pastor? Wouldn't the ministry teams be the best way for us to serve, to grow, to help each other, to work as a team? At Chick-fil-A, we have a saying: "Teamwork makes the dream work."
While we are going through a storm, I feel opportunity and potential energizing the air. I'm gettting really excited about the idea of using the ministry teams. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Keep us, Madison First Baptist, in your prayers. We're going through a hard time, but pray for us to figure out how to not only survive but thrive without a youth pastor.