Thursday, April 16, 2015

Youth Mission Sunday Offering

Earlier this week, Forbes magazine published the results from a study determining which jobs are most meaningful to those who do them. Three tied for first place: an orthopedic surgeon, a police chief, and a youth minister. Although these are three very different vocations, they share one similarity: virtually anybody who does them finds great meaning in their work.

I get it. I know a police chief. He is in our church. I’ve talked to him about his job before. He finds meaningful and he should. My running injuries have taken me to orthopedic surgeons all over the country. I’ve visited dozens of people with new hips and knees and a new lease on life. Cool stuff. And I used to be a youth minister. Did it for free for three years. Those kids are in their mid-thirties now. Then I did it for six years as a staff person.

Went to baseball and volleyball games. Drove a 15 passenger van all over the country. I invented a bunch of gross games. Sat with a kid who told his parents he was gay. Led discussions and did a lot of listening when a kid in the church died. Couldn’t even tell you how many graduations I have been to. Easily deep into the hundreds.

I agree youth ministry is as meaningful as meaningful gets. Seriously…who else gets to shape a generation?

Summer mission trips were the best. I saw changes in kids that only happened on mission trips. I still hear stories from trips that happened over fifteen years ago. They see poverty. They experience community. They encounter grace. They work through conflict. They discover what it means to serve. They embrace a new worldview. Nothing quite like them. 

I led my first one as a 24-year-old 21 years ago. I wasn’t even old enough for the church insurance company to insure me as a driver. This year my soon-to-be high school son is going on his first one. Neither of the above statements seem possible.

I believe in youth ministry. Perhaps the most important of our church. These students are at a pivotal time in their lives. We have invested countless hours and dollars in their academic and athletic training. This weekend we get to invest dollars in their spiritual development. 

This summer our church will send 70 youth and adult leaders on mission trips. These trips cost money. Although I wouldn’t really say it’s a cost. Let’s consider it an investment. A good one. 

Today we are taking an offering for our summer mission trips. Your investment in our students is critical. I encourage you to be generous as these students serve hurting people, grow in their friendships, and experience God’s love and grace.

You gave invest here.

The best is yet to come…


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