I am without doubt that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior on a cold, rainy evening in the fall sometime in my junior year of high school in 1979. I am also very aware of the decades that followed and the lack of ANY type of fruit that would have been evidence of a saving knowledge of Christ.
This is not meant to be a list of excuses. I’m able to look back over decades and see God’s protection over me. (And if anyone needed to be protected, it was me – and mostly from myself). I’ll save you a lengthy paragraph, and just sum it up by saying my life was evidence of a lack of any kind of discipleship whatsoever. And, we’ll leave it at that.
But when people committed to invest in discipling others divinely crossed paths with my sons and I, everything changed. Everything.
Fast forward DECADES………..
On a mission trip to do Hurricane Katrina cleanup, my sons shared the same experience of accepting Christ that I had had in high school, and my entire family began to actually FOLLOW Christ. And the ONLY reason that happened is because a couple of women in a Bible study I enrolled in walked alongside of me. I didn’t realize how intentional they were, but they were committed to helping me follow Jesus. At that same time, several young men walked alongside my sons. It’s those men I’d like to tell you about in particular, because I’ve been asked to share this for some volunteers, and it’s likely some of your volunteer time is spent discipling others – even if you don’t realize that.
Our attitudes speak volumes to those around us – to people who identify themselves as Christians, as well as to those who do not. I watched my sons throw footballs around and sit on the porch with the young men who were discipling my kids. They went out for coffee, they played checkers at tables in the middle of the outdoor mall, and sometimes those young men even went and took photos of my sons getting ready for homecoming when I had to be at work. They encouraged my sons not only in their words but in the time that they invested in even sending daily text messages. They modeled a humble and grateful attitude to my sons, and made a big difference in our home. They even modeled what marriage ought to look like. Statistically speaking, having been raised by a single mother – things should not have turned out so well.
Now, they are both following Christ, and fishing for men.
It doesn’t matter in whatever capacity you serve – you are doing so much more than licking envelopes, sweeping floors, dusting floor boards, tossing a basketball around, praying in the early mornings, helping a child with his homework, or giving him a fist bump. Part of the reason I know this, is because there are people intentionally (and unintentionally) discipling me at this very time.
Your investment of TIME in any capacity of youth ministry is saying loudly to these kids their worth to God. Please, please don’t stop. God is using you in enormous ways to change lives, and more importantly – to change eternities.
“Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.” Matthew 4:19-20