I feel like I can’t adequately complete this blog without sharing a little bit about my story and me. First of all, when I was asked to write this post I had no idea what I was gonna say. The truth: the idea of taking on another “thing” although exciting, good, challenging (whatever word you want to use to describe) slightly overwhelmed me. And writing on such a BROAD topic as youth ministry seemed daunting but I accepted and am glad I did.
In the last couple days writing this blog post hasn’t been far from my mind and kind of heavy on my heart, probably because God has been working through this process. Here’s a little backstory for you… I am in a little program called Celebrate Recovery so I have been and am currently digging up past hurts and dysfunction. On Sunday I was having a very “casual” conversation about what God had been showing me as I was digging through my sorted past. At the end of this conversation someone who is very near and dear to my heart reminded me to give myself some grace and to remember how far I’ve come.
This is the first thing I want to really stress. This truth doesn’t just have to apply to a recovering fill-in-the-blank. I think as youth workers we are always looking ahead to what’s next and we forget where we’ve come. God has done great work in each of our personal lives but also from where each of our ministries have started too. Even if we’ve only been in youth ministry a day, I know that there is something to look back on and be thankful that where I am today isn’t where I was yesterday.
The second thing I want to share goes hand in hand with the first: God breeds our ministry out of our biggest hurts and pains. I have heard this truth over and over and over and over but I think I’m finally starting to see it. In fact, if I’m honest and look back at all the ministries I have been a part of that I had a passion for, it was because I had some small personal connection. I could relate. And isn’t that really what youth ministry is all about?
So my youth working friends, I encourage you to take a breath. See how far God has taken you in your ministry and also in your personal life. I think it should be easy to see how God has worked even through the pain to get each of us to where we are today serving Him.
Nikkie Schuster is a friend who serves on staff at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. You can also see more of Nikkie’s contributions and insights on the iHeart Youth Ministry weekly Podcast.