I love, love, love student ministry. But if I am honest, it has got to be the hardest and most difficult thing I have ever done. Not the tasks, not the actual job that I get evaluated for, but that subjective, spiritual, unspoken work of pouring your entire being into the life of students.
Most people love to "invest" in the lives of students.
But to be honest, most of this investment seems like the Farmer who is not only scattering seeds, but wasting good seed on miles of path. And to make matters worse, when this investment doesn't seem to pay off, there is always some well intentioned parent who will patronize you, and the very polity of the church that reminds you of your status. Lose, lose, lose.
Oh man, how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole and cry, "Oh, poor me."
But this rabbit hole is a place that we must fight diligently to avoid. We are called by God into an incredible profession. We have been given the high honor to walk with students during the most challenging season of their entire lives. And our battle is not one of flesh and blood, but it is a spiritual battle for the very souls of our students. We have been called on to stand in the gap!
Investing in students can be a soul crushing endeavor.
At our best, at our strongest, we can do this all day every day. The fact that we are human means that we can not do this forever. We will get tired and we will get discouraged. This is a fact! The real question is what are you going to do when you get tired? When you lose heart?
The solution is that we need people in our lives to hold up our hands. We need colleagues and friends who will stand to the right and left and support us, care for us, and keep us in the fight.
"As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they too a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, and one of the other - so that his hands remained steady till sunset." Exodus 17:11-12
Who will be your Aaron? Who will be your Hur? I am forever grateful for the people in my life who see when I am growing weary, bitter, exhausted, and even depressed. I am thankful that they graciously encourage me to sit down and do the heavy lifting of my cement-like arms. I am thankful that I am not alone, have given up, and walked away from the battle.
We are youth workers! We have the best and worst jobs on the planet.
May we not be overcome with exhaustion or disillusionment. May we pour everything we've got into the lives of students, so that by the grace of God some may come to know Him as Savior and Lord. And may we have people in our lives who will hold up our hands and may we be people who hold up the hands of others so that the battle may be won!