A common phrase that can both be simple or hold great weight, “Thank you.” I had an experience recently that reminded me of how grateful I am to those who have taken time to invest in me. There are many men and women who have stopped to check in on me, showed me what it means to show respect to others, how to read my Bible, how to teach, how not to be afraid to get up in front of a crowd to speak and so many other things. All of these things which have been taught to me have been small parts of who Jesus was. The small parts that add up to a my whole life being transformed into a follower of Christ who cannot help but teach with passion and grace in love.
Several moments over this year have reminded me of how far others have helped me come. I am being vague on most of this because there are so many people I could thank individually, but they all helped in different ways. The one thing I am most grateful for though is learning how to teach God’s word to students. To truly get down to their level and help them understand the value of what you are talking to them about. This skill has allowed me to see students, “Get it” for the first time. Their ability to understand simple concepts about scripture has become so important to me, but this would have never been the case if my mentors had not taken the time to teach me the significance of such things in the first place.
I am going to get on my soapbox for a second and say that student ministry has changed my life as well. Six years of seeing students grow, graduate and go has been full of every emotion you could imagine. You might call me crazy, but junior high guys (7-8th grade in my ministry) have been the only group I have lead in all six years. I wouldn’t trade it for anything though. It is where I lead a student to Christ, it is where I have seen students come our of there shells, it is where I have been there for students in their moments of feeling lost and alone, but most of all being able to foster in them the same love for Christ that I have is the most rewarding thing of all. Seeing a student, “Get it” is like a shot of adrenaline to me. It excites me to know that these students will understand scripture way better than most of their piers and be able to spread the gospel unashamedly to others their own age.
Soapbox speech over. If you would have asked me six years ago if I would have been still teaching students today, I probably would have told you that I was unsure if I would be. Today though, this will forever be a part of my life. Student ministry is my missions field in the states. It can be messy, very difficult and even painful sometimes, but supporting students through the toughest moments of their young adult lives is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
If you have never served in your church or have never become a part of a church, I would highly recommend getting involved in a church that encourages volunteering. Try it, please. God can use your spiritual gifts to show others the love that Christ has shown us. So to all those people out there who have influenced my life, thank you. You mean so much to me and I will continue to advance the Gospel all the days of my life.
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