Now it's just an unusual thing to hear in today's world a group of adults cry over students - cry as they express how much they love these kids and cry over what many of them are going home to. As I listened, I heard the heart of God being expressed through each story told.
But that is what a youth worker is - we are God's skin, his voice, and his vision in the world - we see what many can't - we have been given his heart for the next generation - and there's no escaping it. If you're a youth worker, you know exactly what I'm talking about.
I love students, I've given my life to them for the past 26 years - BUT, I really love youth workers. Why? Because they love students!
See there's this beautiful and mystical exchange between us and God. God calls us to particular kids in a particular place at a particular time and to make sure we love them well and represent Him well - he gives us a love for them that comes directly from his heart to ours. It's a crazy kind of thing... It's mysterious!
Many have thrown this generation away - they've given up on them, dismissed them, complained about them, are annoyed by them, and this has marginalized teenagers today. But youth workers stay in there, because of what God has given them and what he has shown them. Oh, it's not easy, trust me, but there we stand WITH them, like God has with us.
See, when others look at today's student, they see Saul, but we see Paul.
Others look and they see the woman at the well, but we see the first missionary.
Some look and see Simon, but we see Peter.
That's God vision and that's youth ministry.
We see what God is doing and what he's doing is just so stinkin' beautiful! We've been given glimpses of what the future holds for our students and what God's Spirit is working out in each of them. And I trust him - I trust him to carry it out, to continue to work, to sanctify them, to produce a choice fragrant fruit in each my students.
And when I grow weary, when I lose the vision, I ask God to remind me - to show me again... and then back I go to remind students who they really are. What an honor, what an absolute honor to speak God's vision over them - what a tremendous blessing!