Letter To The First Time College Summer Youth Dude

I have been in full time ministry for these past 16 years and I absolutely love it! This morning I was thinking back to the first ministry job that I had as a summer youth minister back when I was in college. A lot of people get to be a summer intern under a youth minister and learn a bunch of stuff… not me! It was like “uh hey, there’s not a youth guy so here you go!”

I remember going into my office (because I actually had one). I would come in early. I had a cat that summer who would come with me (total other story but his name was Fletch #RIP) I would shut my door and open up my Bible and begin to get the cold sweats just pouring through scriptures and trying to figure out what I would teach on Wednesday night. I would pull out my cheesy church clip art book and go to the Xerox machine so that I could cut and paste together the weekly newsletter for the youth. I would take my list of youth, which was about as many as I have call me “Dad” on a daily basis now, and I would pray over them by name.

It was simple. I messed up a lot of stuff. I probably lead in a way that would have gotten me  fired from literally every other ministry position that I have had since then, but for that summer it was a beginning to what God was stirring in me for the rest of my life. God really got ahold of my heart for ministry. I just pray to God that I didn’t screw up most of those kids!

So inevitably there are plenty of those college students right now who are coming in this morning, sitting at that desk, hopefully not still piecing together old clip art, but you are doing all you can to lead students to know God. Just be aware, you ARE going to mess some things up, you ARE probably in over your head, but you ARE not alone even if you are the only one in the room. This summer will grow your heart for God in a way that learning in a class room could never do and that reading in a book could never explain.

Those two summers were spent dealing with 10’s of people while today’s summers are spent dealing with 1000’s, but all of these times and people I love.

If you are overwhelmed right now, good! It breeds the right dependence. Soak it all in and keep going. It will all be worth it.



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