Well, well, well. It DOES pay off to be a youth minister from time to time after you've been doing it for awhile. (smile)
Of course, I'm not looking for any kind of "pay-off" for anything that I do with youth, but there are times when God blesses you with a special moment or event that reminds you of WHY you are involved in youth ministry in the first place. In my case, God has placed me in a parish with a very large population of youth between the grades of 6-12. 400 to be exact. It's big, it's fun and it's blessed. There are some really wonderful families raising some very special young people in tis parish and I have the privilege of getting to know quite a few of these families very well. A good many of these families have helped to move me forward in my own faith as well as become a better mom to my children.
I direct the jr. high youth program at our parish and it involves many duties such as: curriculum selection, teacher training, retreat planning and implementation, nose wiping, chair stacking, human traffic cone organization (or dis-organization as the case may be), classroom inspection, shoulder to cry on duty, service project coordination, walk quietly and carry a big stick duty, prayer and worship planning, disciplining, and the always popular toilet flushing after all youth have left the building. All this and much more for as little you would pay a substitute teacher. Yes, well, it's all alot of fun and to top it all, I get to be readily active in my children's faith development.
But tonight I was blessed with an extra-special treat: DINNER. A wonderful dinner prepared for me and my family by a youth who has graduated and moved on to greener pastures in college. This wonderful young man was home for Christmas break and called to take me to dinner but quickly changed his mind to offering to prepare an italian feast for the entire family and his girlfriend. Sweet. So. Sweet. He arrived with parsley, garlic, pasta in one hand, and non-alcoholic champagne in the other. His girlfriend (another youth ministry grad) came along and sat in the living room with me. We talked and entertained the kids while the chef in my kitchen created his feast. We laughed, prayed, ate, laughed some more, talked of the future and ended the night with some great chocolate dessert!! (I provided that!)
There are many, many moments of beauty in youth ministry. But none more beautiful than when you get to see one or more of the youth develop into a person of purpose, honesty, humility and faith. I thank God for the opportunity to watch this life grow in faith.
Happy New Year to all and may we commit to serving the church in a manner that is pleasing to God.