After you've been doing youth ministry for a while. There are days when you wonder if it matters at all.
After the thousandth student has come through the door and is never to be seen again. After another student on your leadership team you've poured into decided to leave the faith behind. After you have been crying and praying and sweating and waiting for a spiritual breakthrough and instead all you get is broken and no through... those are the days you wanna quit and go get a "real job".
But then there are those days. Those other days. Those few and far between days when it all seems worth it. When the long term fruit of seeds planted 10+ years ago shows up. Yeah, the last few days have been like that for me.
ONE CAME IN THE FORM OF A WEDDING:
Aparna and Burton both made a decision to follow Jesus in and through high school and a student ministry called Powerhouse I cut my ministry teeth in. Then they chased each other and Jesus all the way through life's ups and downs and ended up at the altar. Last Friday I got a chance to officiate their wedding ceremony. Now Burton is training to be an airline mechanic and pilot who flies missionaries and supplies into remote areas of the world. Aparna stepped in and helped lead Powerhouse in the years after I left. She is passionate about making a difference for Jesus everywhere she goes and married a man who humbly shares that passion. So proud of them.
In the wedding party and the audience were two other couples that grew up in our ministry and are now serving as youth pastors in their own local churches. There was a couple I'm doing the wedding for this summer who are loving God and serving in a local church plant. Two former volunteers have chosen to go to seminary for more training to reach more students. I talked with a dear friend who told me she has remained faithful to a commitment she made as a freshman before God... like 15 years ago. There is a former intern who is serving foster kids. I mean the list could go on and on for pages. I did not have one conversation the entire reception that did anything but encourage my soul. Not one.
What an amazing gift this day was.
ANOTHER CAME IN THE FORM OF A VIDEO:
I have a good friend and former student from our high school ministry who serves as the Area Director for a Young Life club in South Central LA. He literally was told on his first day at Fremont High by a cop to get off the campus and never come back because he didn't want to do the paperwork for his dead body. That was years ago now.
I was on facebook tonight and I saw this 16 minute video. I watched it through tears. What an epic example of a life well lived. So blessed to be a small part of this story.
If you know Kyle Cummins, you should definitely watch this video.
If you don't know Kyle but you want to be inspired by real student ministry that changes real student lives, then you should watch this video.
If you just want to donate some money to a ministry that is rockin' the inner city and that can't survive without outside support, well... watch this video.
OH... AND HERE'S MY SHOUT OUT...
To all the Powerhouse and Encounter grads that are loving Jesus still today! You Bless Me more than words will ever say!