It's that time of the year again. All the kiddos head back to school and my husband and I, we head back to youth ministry. We never had plans before we got married to get involved with youth ministry, it just kind of happened. This year we will enter our 7th year working with the teens of our church and we absolutely love it. Now I'd by lying if I told you it has been all success and great moments. We've had lots of fun over the years and lots of bumps as well. I thought I would share with you some of the the things we've learned through serving in hopes of encouraging you to step out or persevere in your own lives of service.
Serving is fun.
When we started working with the teens in our church we did it thinking we would be an encouragement and help to them, little did we know they would be a joy and blessing to us as well. Teens are a rowdy, crazy bunch and they keep life fun and exciting. :) They've welcomed us as some of their own and in exchange we have grown close to many of the teens over the years. They are enjoyable to be around and we love watching them grow and mature in life and more importantly in Christ.
To top it off, serving with my husband Justin has been the biggest blessing and joy to our marriage! We love working together as partners in God's kingdom. We love having our weekly "date" getting in God's Word with the teens. We love the reminder that life is about more than our marriage and our family; it's about Jesus and reaching out to the lost around us.
We can't determine our success by human standards.
Serving is challenging. We cannot let our attitude towards serving be bound up in how many people show up for an event, get involved in the mission or love the message. Numbers will come and go, ministries will succeed and struggle and sometimes after hours of investment and planning, you will see no earthly return on your investment. That doesn't mean all is for naught. God cares about more than numbers. He cares about people, about hearts, about his truth being proclaimed to the nations. Sometimes we may not see the results of what we are doing until we reach heaven, and that's okay. If we find our joy and satisfaction in knowing Christ and knowing that we are serving were he has called us, then we find ourselves less prone to emotional valleys and disappointment.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." - Colossians 3:23-24
Don't wait for the perfect time in your life to start serving.
When we first got involved in ACTS, we had only been married a year and had no children. Then we got pregnant with our son and thought we might have to stop after he was born. It turns out babies are quite mobile and easily tag along on teen events. :-) And now, here we are entering our 7th year of serving with 4 kiddos! God has continually provided wonderful babysitters each year and we've also learned that sometimes it's okay to serve with your children in tow. The teens love our kids and we love that they get to see that living for God is something you do at every stage of your life.
We make mistakes.
Thankfully God, in his unboundless grace, can use us anyway. We've done things that didn't work. We don't handle every situation perfectly. We sometimes have the wrong motives, mindset and goals. God knows we are imperfect and thankfully he is bigger than our insecurities, stronger than our weakness and perfect amongst our imperfections.
God is the one who grants success to our efforts. We have planned the best events and used the most up to date marketing. Ultimately, the times in our ministry that we've seen the most excitement for God and blessings in our group are when we've been faithful in praying for God's guidance and his provision. (Fighting Battles from our Knees).
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor,serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. - Romans 12:9-13
Have you written off yourself as too busy, too much of a mom, too young or too old to serve him? Whether in big or small ways, God can and wants to use each of us no matter where we are in life. Have you prayed about where God is calling you to serve him right now?