Ten years ago, if you had told fourteen-year-old me that I was going to be a Youth Minister, she would have downright laughed. See, even at fourteen, I was a type-A organized person. I had plans. I was going to attend Rice University, become an author, and live in New York City, thank you very much and no, I don’t need your input.
Somehow, instead, this autumn, I’m entering into my second year of youth ministry as a Youth Minister in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis.
In large part, that’s because at some time in my life, I realized that there were two plans going on in my life: my plans and God’s plans. Somehow, His plans for me always prevailed.
When I went into ministry, for some reason, I expected it to be different. I expected that because I was working with God, all of a sudden my schedules were going to go exactly how I planned and everything was going to be perfect.
Within the first semester, I found myself constantly frustrated and annoyed by how things weren’t running on time; how a core member wouldn’t be able to make it; how a light fixture or a picture frame would break, demanding clean up and throwing off the whole schedule, leaving me flustered and distracted when I was going to give my teaching.
By the end of that semester, my motto was: “all things go wrong in youth ministry all the time.”
Breathe in, youth minister. This is all going according to plan.
It’s just not your plan.
Yes, make your Power Point and set up the projector beforehand. Plan on what songs to give to the music minister. Practice the skits. Have an idea of how you’ll transition from one part of the night to the next. Give your core team members questions or bible studies.
But leave room for God to take over your ministry. Leave room for the Holy Spirit to flow and adjust your time schedule as He sees fit. Leave room for God to do as He pleases.
He has a plan. Work with Him.
A teen may have needed to stay in their small group for a little while longer while you picked up that broken light fixture. Maybe they open up to that substitute core member because they’ve had a similar experience. Maybe because you were flustered, God was able to get a Word in through your rehearsed teaching.
As we all enter into a new year of ministry, resolve to live inside the accidents. Enter into this year excited about what God is planning on doing at your parish.
You are not going to believe what miracles God has up His sleeves. Our God is a God of creation and order. Our God is also the free-flowing Holy Spirit. He has a plan for your night; let Him work for you. Allow yourself to work for Him.