Five Reasons For Events
I think that there are more out there like me…youth pastors who hate creating events. I dread planning them and often wonder, “Why am I doing this?” There are some youth pastors who live for events. They love developing creative environments for students. They finish one event and can’t wait until the next one. This is not me. They stress me to out. They suck what little energy I have left. They are chaotic…and no matter what you do they always seem to smell of Axe body spray.
You wonder why I am in a ministry that seems to have lock-ins and retreats every other weekend if I hate events so much. That is a very good question. I am in it for the students…and that means events. Even though I strongly dislike them I tell myself that they are important. I have always known that this was the right answer, but I am not too sure if I really believed it…until a week ago.
I am on the back-end of my first year as youth pastor at Otterbein. A few months ago I was asked if my youth would like the opportunity to pack 400 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I am all for service and think that students need avenues to serve, but I dreaded planning this event. Don’t get me wrong, I love serving and helping others. I am so happy that my students had this opportunity and that there is a place where they can be loved and have a good time. Planning events just makes me…well, anxious. It’s always the same dance…promo, emails, students not responding, and wrangling students. I always have the same questions…will students come? How many? Is this beneficial? What’s our purpose? I know there are more out there who are just like me. I hope this story helps you.
I started promoting this event and had a very limited response. I began stressing because I was told that we would need about 30 students to pack the boxes. I tried using emails to parents, word of mouth, Facebook, texting, and phone calls, but wasn’t able to assess the scope of my promoting. I became frustrated and feared that I would not have enough student involvement. I understand that there is only so much that I can do so I started to pray that God would simply help me. I asked that he would work and provide everything that we needed to pull off this service project and do it well…He gave me over 50 people and we finished packing 430 shoe boxes in an hour and a half. Here are five things I learned through this experience…five reasons for events:
Reliance upon God
I am amazed that I still need to be reminded to include God in something…especially something that is a ministry related event! I know this is important and I desperately want to include God in all things, but all too often I become busy and forget. This experience showed me the power and importance of seeking God, crying out in prayer, and trusting that He will work. And did He ever! I saw His power. I saw His faithfulness. I saw His loving-kindness.
This might seem like a total no-brainer, but I was so happy to just have an avenue to get students involved! This service event provided an opportunity for students to come together and give of themselves. It gave them a healthy, Christ-centered option on a Saturday morning.
The pile of completed shoe boxes wasn’t the only thing that grew that morning…all of us grew together. As we were packing shoe boxes we all had lifted spirits…a general boost in morale. They were excited about serving and they were sharing this moment with each other. Our bond as a group and my bond with my students as their youth pastor became stronger.
This event was not only for students, it was also for their parents. Something we are very intentional about at Otterbein is providing opportunities for parents to be the primary disciplers of the family and participate with their students in service. It was amazing to see students and adults (more specifically parents) working side-by-side. This allows students to learn from their own parent’s example of service and allows parents to catch our ministries vision. It helps move parents from spectators on the spiritual sidelines to coaches.
Going along with parental involvement is adult mentorship. Events are always great times for adult volunteers and ministry staff to build relationships with students. It is an easy opportunity for them to grow together and the activity at hand provides a social buffer so that conversation and relationship building comes more easily. In events, whether service or just fun, students have the opportunity to see a Christ follower in action. This might set in motion significant life change.
These are five simple things that God taught me through a service event…a service event that completely changed my perspective. I used to hate events and wonder why I am doing them. Now I get it.
Posted on November 11, 2011, in Leadership, Spiritual Disciplines and tagged Christianity, Church, Church Ministry, Events, Family Ministry, Leadership, Pastor, Religion, Spiritual Discipline, Student Ministry, Youth Ministry, Youth Pastor, Youth Work. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.