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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tonight I sat alone in the high school room...

Tonight (Wednesday night), in a room that used to be full of noisy, soda drinking and talking teenagers, I sat alone.  It was empty.  And I sat in the middle of it. 

Alone. 

And I was okay with that. 

All around our building, our six small groups were just getting started.  Our students were interacting with their leaders and each other (I could hear them through the walls and closed doors... laughing... talking... catching up about their days and homework and iPod games).  They were interacting with each other.  The leaders were beginning their lessons. 

No lesson for me tonight. 

And I am okay with that. 

A couple of months ago, we dreamed about what it would be like to have a solid, backbone small group program.  And I have to say that it's happening.  We dreamed of a team of independent leaders (who united within the youth ministry team and vision) would take ownership of their small groups and lead them in ways that only they could do.  We dreamed of leaders loving students and students being connected to leaders (other than me).  We dreamed of leaders taking the leadership for their small group of 4 to 8 students and becoming another voice pointing them toward the cross of Christ. 

And it's happening!!!

And it's amazing!

At the beginning of the year, we made the tough call that our small groups would be "closed" meaning that you needed to sign up in order to join.  Those who didn't, were funneled toward a general group that I led (so that no one would be left out at church).  Over the holidays, we opened our groups up for a couple of weeks for new kids to get in.  All the students in my group are now in groups of their own with small group leaders. 

Tonight, as I sat alone in the middle of the high school room, a couple of thoughts dawned on me. 
1. Ministry is bigger than me.  It needs to be bigger than me.  Right now, as I type, our students are seeing Jesus working in the lives of other leaders... other than me.  Many of our students know my stories.  They know my life.  Some of them could tell some of my classic stories better than me.  Tonight, they get to hear different stories and be challenged in different ways that I can't do.

2. More voices is better for our students.  This ties in directly with what I just said.  Others are pouring what Jesus is doing in their lives into students.  Students are being challenged in ways that I cannot... because their stories aren't my stories.  God is using them in ways that He isn't using me.  Something happened this week in the lives of my leaders that didn't happen to me... and that something is illustrating what God is doing through their lives.

3. More people = more health.  If healthy is what we want... and it ought to be... we should all want health... then we have to get more people involved.  Could I teach all of our students?  Sure. I do it already weekly on Sunday nights.  If I did, would it be as good as what our small group leaders are doing? NO WAY!  They are doing a way better job than what I'm doing.  They are creative in ways that I am not (for instance... one of our high school girls' groups has two leaders... they invited their girls over to their house to make Christmas cookies.  While there, they took pictures of all of them and for Christmas gave them all unique picture frames with pictures taken at that party.  That's amazing! That's creative beyond what I could do! I never, ever, ever, would have thought of that!)!

So tonight... while I sat alone... I prayed for Katie and Megan, Doug and Andy, Betsy, Karen and Lora, Bill, and Deb and Diana.  And you know... it was better than "okay" that I was alone!

It was stinkin' awesome!!! Praise God for small groups!

JC



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