Before Thursday night, I had spoken to exactly zero groups of high school or middle school students in the past school year. None. Zip. Zilch. For the most past that was intentional. I needed a break.That part of my life felt tired when I left Romeo. The grind of preparing 1-2 talks per week, year after year, really does wear you down. I was also feeling the type of exhaustion that lead me to say repeatedly, “I’m qualified to lead and teach, just too tired.” I’ve been especially thankful to the leadership of our church for being patient with me. They’ve allowed me the freedom to rest!
So when Chris from Harbor asked me to host and teach his group of summer interns I was a little apprehensive. I always felt rusty after taking a vacation… how would I feel after taking a year off? Plus, I didn’t know any of the students so I couldn’t lean on relationship. Ah, the excuses I had created in my mind for failure!
It all went great. Kristen completely rocked the hosting part. She made lasagna and salad… keeping it simple always seems to work best. The house was ready, the kids seemed to have a good time. 25 smiling faces when they came, while they were here, and when they left. Success! The only little bump was Stoney getting frisky with some guests. But that’s completely in character for him! The talk part went pretty smooth. If I had practiced a couple of times I wouldn’t have needed my notes at all and I would have had a better feel for some of the material. But I think I maintained their attention and the whole thing was pretty fun. (I was relieved that they actually did the discussion part… I never know how that’ll go.) Hopefully, I gave them something memorable, something worth thinking about, and something applicable to their service when they lead camp next week.
As I’ve shared, the last year has really jacked with my identity in a good way. Switching from a full time role where my ministry was primarily to students and their parents to a role where I interact with a lot of youth leaders but not a lot of students… it’s given me a chance to think a lot about who I really am in Christ. Am I my work? Is my ministry outside the home more important than inside? What is it like to not be labeled “pastor” anymore? One thing Thursday night reminded me of… I was made to work with high school students. I can do a lot of other things at a high competency. And for this season of my life I am perfectly comfortable not working with high school students vocationally. Yet, this was a reminder that I need to be more intentional and giving in volunteering my service to high schoolers. I’ve got to figure that part. Reality tells me that I don’t have oodles of time. But reality also tells me that something will be incomplete if I don’t find 3-4 hours per week to do something with high school students.
That’s what I’m thinking about this Saturday morning. Now off to the beach so Stoney can hump his own kind.