Last April I passed up my 13th year as a youth pastor. I've blogged here several times about my feelings of inadequacy and insignificance.... which is a voice I have to beat down a lot to keep from quiting on a bad weekend. I have a friend who recently posted this article on the subject. I guess it goes with the territory. Though I must admit, it had been a while since a student said to me the kinds of things in the notes given to him.
Today I got this e-mail. I removed the name, but other than that- here it is:
Dear Pastor BerryIt has been more than 10 years since the last time I saw you in Fremont and you probably do not remember me since it's been so long. I wanted to take this time to thank you for being a great godly influence in my life the last year of high school and for making sure that I would be plugged into a great church/community when I went to college. I wanted to apologize for basically being an arrogant, ignorant, I think I know everything high schooler who didn't know when to keep my mouth shut. Looking back I was a complete idiot and when I left for college I said some things that were uncalled for and hurtful. This has been on my mind on and off for the last decade and today at work my mind wandered off to the days of youth group and so I felt compelled to write you to ask for your forgiveness.
I am happily married to a wonderful God-fearing woman. We currently live in Sacramento and are expecting twins next spring. I an indebted to your presence in my life during my spiritual infancy for helping me to be the man I am today. You worked very hard as our youth pastor hosting early morning prayer, coordinating trips, and so on. I hope you can forgive me. Take care.
I remember the student. I don't remember the stuff he said that he recalls as hurtful. Guess I must have gotten over it. But needless to say, it was an easy request for forgiveness to grant.
To all those who serve in student ministries... be encouraged. God is working. Sometimes we never hear about it. And sometimes it evidently just takes a decade or so before you hear about the fruit.