By nature I’m a “doer,” but lately God has been teaching me how to be a “watcher.” And it’s been humbling and encouraging and incredibly exciting to watch God at work in the lives of my teenagers.
Here’s the challenge: Sometimes I get so preoccupied with programming and teaching and leading and even mentoring that I forget to step back and watch what God is doing. But God pulled me back, stood me in a corner, and made me realize that it’s really not about me at all, but it’s about what God can do through me and in the lives of my students. It’s all about him.
Our group recently finished up a week at Flower City Work Camp, our annual Spring Break inner-city missions trip. It’s right in our backyard, but in many ways it’s a cross-cultural experience. More than 500 students and hundreds of adults from our area join together for a week of changing lives in our neediest neighborhoods through home repairs, basketball camps, and sidewalk club kids’ Bible programs. It’s the best week of the year!
But we don’t just serve. Every night we join together for great worship and straight truth from God’s Word. This year’s truths were direct and foundational: Have you thought about human nature lately? Who is God? Who am I? How does it all work together? How am I going to respond? I watched my students actively engaged in tough teaching, eager to put it into practice. I watched students take on those hard truths and watched God take it and change their lives.
I watched formerly hostile and challenging students give their lives over to Christ and immediately begin setting an example to their peers by their changed lives. I watched students hunger for more truth and initiate small groups to specifically spend focused time together in God’s Word. I watched students step out of their comfort zones to lead Bible studies. I watched students go miles beyond adults in their eagerness to serve God and spend time with him. I watched students hold each other accountable for their spiritual walks. I watched students long to spend more time with other believers.
That’s a month’s worth of watching. What have I been missing all these years?!
“Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?” Jesus chastised his disciples when he was praying in Gethsemane shortly before his crucifixion. Every moment we run the risk of making our plans and programs and lessons and relationships-all good things-more important than watching God at work, both in our lives and the lives of our teenagers. There is a lot to do in youth ministry. There will always be a lot to do in youth ministry. But I have been having such a great time watching God at work in my teenagers, that I’m going to commit to doing less and watching more. Some of you are going to argue that following Jesus is not a spectator sport. True! But “taste and SEE that the Lord is good.” Once in a while, step back and watch what God is doing. Take time to appreciate his grace in all its forms working through your ministry and your teenagers.