This morning I’m flying out to Atlanta for North Point’s “The Orange Conference,” a student ministry conference. I am beyond excited at the prospect of learning how to do more, whatever that may look like.
A few days ago I was thinking about the last student ministry conference I attended. During one of the breakout sessions, I walked into the room, already filled with youth pastors sitting and talking to each other. Toward the center of the room, sitting alone, was a student around twelve or thirteen years old.
I found the idea of a lovely student in a room filled with youth pastors a ridiculous irony. I decided to take the seat next to him and start up a conversation. I asked him about his interest in the breakout session, what his role in his youth ministry looked like, what he thought his future in ministry might look like, etc.
This kid was amazing. Students always have the ability to surprise me with their gifts, talents, and even the way they view God’s love and how to share it with others. He was super active in his church and its youth ministry. He was a strong student leader, even though he felt like he lacked self-confidence in a lot of ways.
I was still incredibly frustrated at these fellow youth ministers and their inability to see a lonely kid sitting right there among them in a closed off room. I’m sure that these youth pastors were discussing youth strategies for when they returned to their respective churches. But this kid was in the here and now, not in the three days from now.
It makes me wonder how often I miss potential ministry opportunities because I’m wrapped up in ministry. How many times have I been concerned about a ministry meeting tomorrow while I sat silently next to a person struggling with something that only God, who they haven’t met yet, can help them manage?
Let’s start to look for ministry opportunities together. Let’s prepare for upcoming ministry matters while keeping our eyes open for those who need ministering to. I’ve said it a million times already, but as a full-time church staff member, it seems like ministry often hinders ministry. We have to be very intentional as we look for the hurting, the lost, and the marginalized. Let’s pray that God will open our eyes and show us where we need to serve.