God embraces you in your discouragement [Time Out]

Time Out quiet times for the youth worker's soulTime Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Adam Wormann)

Some weeks in youth ministry are awesome. The kids interact in the small groups, your lesson feels like it connected and kids paid attention through it, and you nailed that annoying junior higher in the face with a dodgeball. Yeah, it’s a good week.

Then you have a “not as good” week. Messages that don’t connect. Kids keep going back to talking about Black Ops instead of the topic, and someone spills juice on the sacred carpet.

Then that week looks good when the next week comes up, and an elder yells about the carpet, parents start complaining about there not enough activities while the person next to them complains about being too busy, and a student not so nicely tells you what you can do to yourself. You feel like you’re not doing something right, and isolated within the church.

First, understand that we all go through these weeks in ministry. Don’t be hard on yourself. You will never please everyone. Jesus angered people. You’re not Jesus, but if he doesn’t make everyone happy, you shouldn’t expect to either.

But here’s what’s more important: You’re loved. In John 4, Jesus talks with a woman at the well. She’s a woman, so she’s second class (in that culture and time). She’s a Samaritan, so neither Jews nor Gentiles see her as legit. Nobody likes her. Jesus takes the time. He talks with her, loves her, points her forward. Even the screw-ups she made were secondary. Jesus wanted her to know they were wrong, but that she was also still loved and not judged. I think he wants us to know the same.

We have hard weeks and feel like failures and outcasts. And yes, sometimes we make mistakes. But nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Please don’t let discouragement keep us from Him, as it often does. Don’t isolate yourself further. Take comfort in knowing that God is approaching you, ready to embrace you.

Posted on August 8, 2011

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