Next week I step away from my leadership role with young people in our church and so I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you from the journey of the last 4 years. Here goes…
I’ve loved it!
For the last 4 years I’ve had the privilege of being your youth leader. Over that time there have been things that have challenged me, frustrated me, encouraged me, upset me and provoked me. But overall, I’ve had this sense of joy through everything. I’ve loved it!
I’ve loved watching you grow up. To have seen the growth in your confidence. To glimpse an extra level of maturity. To look back at the funny photo of what you used to look like. To watch the person you have and are growing into.
I’ve loved being your leader. The opportunities to influence you. The chances to stretch you. The times of dreaming up crazy events like Coast and making them happen. The responsibility of being a role model.
I’ve loved hanging out with you. The all too common Ashers Fry Ups. The races to the top of the walls at Clip n Climb. The road trips to the North Coast. The many desserts we ate at i56. The debates around the tents at Summer Madness.
I’ve loved standing beside you at key moments of your life. To pray for you in the midst of a relationship breakdown. To stand beside you when the exam results weren’t good. To listen to your struggles. To share words of advice when you asked for them.
I’ve loved the laughs. And there have been many. The stupid names in Empires. The brilliant dare suggestions during ‘What are the odds?’ The late nights on a Fusion weekend. The Insomnia all nighters. Your crazy antics and your funny stories.
I’ve loved watching you take brave steps forward in your faith. The times you invited friends to church. Those who stood at the front & spoke about your love for Jesus. Those who prayed out loud for the first time. Those who went on mission trips. Those who stood up for what was right even when the crowd did the opposite.
I’ve loved the times when I’ve had to get annoyed with you. When I saw you act in a way that I knew wasn’t all of you were called to be. When I got the chance to call you to something more. When I had the privilege to be able to speak into your life. When I had the opportunity to stand up for someone more vulnerable or speak out about something that wasn’t right.
I’ve loved the times I stood at the front of a room to teach you. To lift your eyes higher and point you to Jesus when all you wanted to do was look at your own situation. To explain the beauty of the gospel that God reached down to you because we couldn’t reach up to Him. To tell you that God made you well. To open the Bible and pass on the teachings of Jesus to love your neighbour as yourself, to pray for your enemies, and to share your possessions with the poor.
And I’ve loved watching you go further in your faith than me. When you prayed with your friends in a car. When you led someone to Christ. When you displayed your passion in worship. When you continued to serve with such enthusiasm.
So thank you for the memories. Thank you for being a pleasure to lead. Thank you for opening your lives to me. And opening your hearts to Jesus. There is more to come and I pray that you discover more of God’s character and His heart for you and the world.
I’ve told you many things over the last few years. Some of them aren’t worth remembering, but some of them are.
Anything worthwhile I’ve passed on to you – speak it out!
What I’ve taught you about Jesus – shout it loud!
Keep trusting. Keep following. Keep growing. Keep serving. And keep in touch!
Love you all,