My primary goal is to lead others closer to Christ through building Christocentric relationships and loving them as Christ loved us. I strive to do this with my family, friends, coworkers, and in my ministry. I’d love to say that this can be seen in the big and small ways of each of my interactions but unfortunately, I fail at this often. And despite your best efforts, you may be failing at it too.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and friends, and my ministry’s programming is Christ-centered; but all too often I fail in the small things. When I’m meeting with my volunteers before youth group, I become hyper focused on logistics, small groups, etc. Sometimes at the end of youth group, I realize that I never personally acknowledged some of my volunteers. And, though I have many volunteers, that’s no excuse.
“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta
One of my volunteers, John, has opened my eyes to this. Every time he arrives, he’ll greet each person with a hug and ask how they’re doing. It’s obvious that he truly cares, and his loving expression of that exemplifies the love of Christ. Are others able to see your priorities lived out through your actions in the little things? Would they say your priority is to lead others to Christ or to get started on time?
“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta
Sometimes, by focusing on the big picture, I forget to love in the little things. In what ways do you become so focused on getting started on time, getting out the door, being prepared for a retreat/camp, or having things just right that you lose sight of loving through the small things? Personally greeting those around you. Asking someone “how are you doing,” and waiting for the answer. Spending time to listen to a kid tell a story that, you don’t quite understand, but you can see they’re excited to tell.
Instead of becoming vigilant that everything is perfect, what if you became hyper vigilant that you are loving?
Life is messy. Ministry can be messy. But if someone walks away from youth group not having ‘learned’ anything but knowing that they’re loved…I would call that a great success.
“There are no great things, only small things with great love.” -St. Teresa of Calcutta
Historically, parents or the eldest at home would bless each child before they left the house. The blessing could be something as simple as laying hands on their head or embracing them while praying, “Holy Spirit guide [child’s name] in their choices and actions, particularly while at [where they’re going]. Amen.”
We’ve implemented this blessing, calling upon the spiritual authority of parents, as we gather to depart for retreats. Prior to departing I explain to the parents how they are the spiritual role model and about the historical nature of this blessing. Then, we have the youth go to their parents to receive this blessing and have youth go to a Core Team member to be prayed over if their parents have already left.