Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Youth Ministry Reminder - Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

I grew up in the 80's and 90's.

I grew up on The Dukes of Hazard, MacGyver, The A-Team and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.  These shows were staples in my home.  Now that I have a 2 year old, almost 3 year old, little boy and thanks to the wonders of Netflix, I am starting to introduce him to Mister Rogers (and his spinoff Daniel Tiger's) Neighborhood.

A friend of mine recently posted the embedded video on Facebook.  I thought, "Cool... a little walk down memory lane."  Then I found myself being broadsided by a message from God.

I've been doing youth ministry for a long time (almost 17 years... that's a long time in my profession) and I love what I do.  But I'm like you, I have a to-do list that is a mile long and is growing and begging for attention as I type.  And I enjoy punching things off the list.  I enjoy pulling off a great event or program, nailing a great talk or writing a killer set of small group questions.

But you know what God reminded me of today: That's often not what makes the biggest impact in the life of a teenager.

Most don't remember my killer small group questions or all (or even a few) of my well-thought out rhyming sermon points or how incredibly creative that game was.  All of those things are important, mind you.  But God reminded me today that the most important thing is liking, caring, loving and encouraging the teenager in front of me right now.

It's easy to get lost in the details.

Youth Worker Friends: Let's not get so lost in the details (that need to get done for sure) today that we forget or miss the opportunity to say something encouraging.  To look a teenager in the eye and accept them and point them to Jesus in a loving way.  To look for simple ways to serve the students and families in our care.  Maybe even at the expense of getting a few more things knocked off the list.

Mister Rogers reminded me today from 1981 that loving the person in front of you is the most powerful thing you can do in the life of a teenager.