“When kids grow up they face a broken world;
we need to prepare them to contend for the kingdom without fear.” (@JenHatmaker)
They poured out of the bus. Near 60 of them. Junior high boys. High on life and testosterone and each other. I would like to tell you they sat in neat rows and recited scripture to me.
Instead? There were twenty odd boys in my hot tub, belching the worlds largest, cracking jokes. There were still more playing paintball with the tire rubber slingshots we bought from the roadside vendor in Kenya. Others riding mini bikes or roasting meat around the campfire.
We will send them home to you with dust streaked faces, paintball stained shirts, they will smell like fire.
This ministry we do will never be clean. We serve a God who spits in the dirt to form balm for healing. Who scratches the soil with a stick when the others throw rocks. It was almost like he warned us. Kick up the dust. Then wash each others feet. Use your tears if you must. Get it done.
I wish life were simple. Cleaner. I wish all the kids in our youth group came from homes like yours. That they didn’t walk in with 100 pound back packs of burdens and pain, wounds gaping wide open in their chests. Sometimes we see it from across the room, those wounds so deep they suck you in.
But. So do you. So do I. Sometimes we are the ones saddling them.
Later in the night I hear a yell from the hot tub, “MAN CHALLENGE”. And a young leader says “this is the year we learn what it means to be men of integrity”. They yell again, change, and start a fire. Start singing worship songs. It was beautiful and in that moment they sparkled.
They are still going to treat you badly some days and still they are going to make big mistakes this year. We will learn about the grace of God together. We will learn that the Grace walk is measured by the forward momentum from two steps back and three forward.
So yes. Expect things to get messy this year.
I for one wouldn’t have it any other way.
(today as I prayed for Pursuit, I realized I was thinking more about where YOU are at with Jesus than where I am at with Jesus. Forgive me. Jesus…my life is yours….Make it sparkle if you want to… also? Make me ok with the mess…mine and theirs. I trust you to sculpt it into something that matters, I submit to the potters hands).