We are approaching the end of the school year and with it our youth group will be heading into summer holidays. This past year many memories were made and many lives were changed. As I think about the past several years and what it’s meant to me to serve the young people in my community I feel incredibly blessed and amazingly fulfilled. I’m encouraged by the growth the young men placed in my charge and I’m excited to see them grow.
At the same time, I am also distressed by the challenges they will face and the difficulties of many of their peers who we haven’t been able to reach.
My guys have experienced life. They’ve completed another year of their education. They’ve played soccer, football, run track, run cross country, played golf, baseball and tennis. Some of them have a heart for service and have found time in their busy lives to serve the community beyond the walls or our church. Some have participated in Boy Scouts or JROTC and developed leadership skills that will serve them for many years to come.
In this time, I’ve also seen loss, loss of a parent, grandparent and loss of a friend. My boys have dealt with parents splitting up and getting back together. They’ve dealt with disabilities and discipline. They’ve had other kids love them and hate them. They’ve had fights, victories, and served others on a mission. Some of the boys have girlfriends and have developed relationships too deeply too soon, others haven’t even really experienced girls beyond a family relationship. Some of them have seen people they admire fall out of admiration, and others rise up.
All of my time with these guys would be meaningless if it were just me serving them. But when God is involved and his love starts to work, lives are changed and hearts are healed. What we do is all about leading these young people into a relationship with God that will serve them for a lifetime and ultimately an eternity.
The one message I hope all of these guys get is that God loves them with an unbounded love. They can base their worth on the value that Jesus gives them… sons of the Father and members of his family with an inheritance like none other. I hope that my boys learn the value of truth and how to stand firm with it. I hope they are able to take the love that they receive from God and show others that they too are loved.