Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Relational Ministry

Fourteen years ago I was the half time youth pastor at a small church in Harris, MN. I was going to college full time and trying to support my wife. I remember trying to figure out how to do youth ministry. I hadn't really had any training, so I was just winging things. I had no idea what I was doing, I just loved kids and loved God.

Three weeks ago I received a tweet ( for those of you who don't know what that is) from a former student of mine. He simply asked if I was the same guy who was a youth pastor in Harris, MN. As we began to talk, he recalled how messed up he was back then. He also recalled that I treated him "normal". He even recalled a time when I picked him up at his house on my motorcycle and went to Dairy Queen where I sat and talked with him for an hour. I don't remember this particular event. I do remember doing this kind of thing with lots of students.
This past weekend at the National Youth Ministry Conference in Columbus, Ohio I had the privilege of sitting down with him and his wife A (way to go buddy!!). He pulled out his wallet and showed me a card I had given to the students that said, "If you meet me and forget me you have lost nothing. If you meet Jesus and forget Him, you have lost everything." I was blown away. All these years later he still has that little card I printed up on my printer. I am so proud of him and thankful that I had the privilege of being used by God in his life. Love God, love others, make disciples will always ring true.

Today he is being mentored by another youth pastor and wants to become a youth pastor. What is the moral of the story? Do the little things. Teach your staff to do the little things. Relational ministry is the wave of the past, the present, and the future. Whatever youth ministry fads come and go, relationships are what makes a difference.

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