this fall i’m entering seminary. i had a scholarship interview a few weeks ago and one of the questions they asked me was, “what question about God, theology and/or ministry keeps you up at night?” great question. wish i’d known it was coming so i could make up an equally great answer.
in the moment, what came to mind was the nagging question of whether or not what i’m doing – this whole youth ministry thing – is remotely impactful in the lives of the students in my youth group. it’s the whole “i planted, Apollos watered, but God makes the seed grow” conversation i blogged about following Holy Week. the frustration i often feel when i am forced to sit back and let the Spirit move in the hearts of these young men and women. i cannot make the seed grow…and that frustrates me sometimes.
a few days ago I came across this Calvin & Hobbes comic strip by Bill Watterson, and it helped shed some light on what life in youth ministry looks like. Calvin, in a moment of philosophical brilliance, mentions to Hobbes…
“Know what’s weird? Day by day nothing seems to change, but pretty soon everything is different. You just go about your business and one day you realize you’re not the same person you used to be.”
and that, my dear readers, is where I have been finding my peace lately. you may not notice a change over a day, or a weekend retreat, or a short-term missions trip, but pretty soon the student is a totally different person. seeds don’t just sprout overnight. seeds need time to grow, and throughout that time, under the surface, that seed is slowly taking root.
in fact, if they did sprout overnight, i’d be worried that they wouldn’t have the root system to survive their growth. if there aren’t people there continuing to water and cultivate in the life of a student whose life has changed in an instant, then the student won’t survive their transformation and will get lost in their journey…but that’s a topic for another blog.
are there times in youth ministry where we get to celebrate huge transformational moments of change? of course there are. but the bulk of the transformation that occurs is the result of countless hours of prayer, Bible studies, mario kart, lacrosse games, service projects, and relational contact. and day by day, it doesn’t look like anything has changed, but before you know it, that student isn’t the same kid you met a year before. the gospel has taken root and the seed is beginning to grow.
oh, and for the record…i got a full-ride scholarship. holler at cha boi.