Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Final thoughts on Austin and back to reality...

Well, it's over and it's back to reality again. I think I am kind of like Peter at the moment of transfiguration when He asks Jesus why they can't just stay there, build some shrines and worship, but of course Jesus sends them on and it is back to reality because the journey is not ever yet and the battle continues. YS Austin was awesome, and I wish I could have stayed a little longer, but I know that the time to get back to the battle is now. I am so glad I went this year and went to that convention and not another one.

As we were driving home along I 10 which is never fun anywhere you are on it, I was reminded of the journey we are on and how the youth ministry journey is a lot like the road we travel. I know that is a corny cliche, but that's honestly the way I feel right now. As a ministry, we are on a plateau that seems to go on and on forever. However, as we were driving occasionally there were some bright spots that I found cool, like the part of I 10 where you drive across the Louisiana bayou for 20 some odd miles. The swamps are a amazing...Somewhat barren in places, but full of life and growth. There are things there that thrive, but would die any place else. It is the same way on our spiritual journeys and those of our students. Each on of them is in a different place, some are in the valleys full of ups and downs, some are in plateaus where they just seem to maintain their faith (or lack thereof), and some are in the places that are full of life and growth...Even though that growth may seem strange to me and I wonder how they could get anything out of "that" lesson or event. I think in the midst of the discouragement I forgot to realize that just like physical maturity everyone grows spiritually at different speeds. I want my kids to be spiritual all stars and achieve all they can in their relationships with God. I want them to have the same passion that I have and not miss out on what God has planned for them, but I forget that they are kids and need to have room to be that way. Youth ministry is a lot like the parable of the sower. I have to be constantly reminded that I am planting the seeds and only God can make them grow.

Okay enough of trying to make something spiritual out of a long drive. When I wasn't thinking of illustrations we were listening to the seminars that we bought on CD. I am so thankful that is provided as a resource since there were multiple times when I wanted to go to multiple seminars and a long drive is a great time to listen to that stuff.

But all things come to an end and it is back to life and the battle, but I feel like I actually know where I am going now. Here is what I am working on putting into practice now:
  1. I need to be more deliberate about my quiet times-it is so easy to write off planning as quiet time, its not
  2. I need to be more deliberate about my "Sabbath"-it is time I turn the phone off and hit the white ball (golf) or the beach on my own and spend time just taking in all that god has and stepping back from it all
  3. I need to let kids be kids-I need to challenge and push them, but I can only take them as far as they are ready to go
  4. I need to be more transparent-It is okay to admit that I don't have it all put together. I still struggle and I make mistakes, I am not perfect
  5. God doesn't need me-He can do what He wants without me, I need to praise Him more and realize that I am nothing and He is everything, my programs are nothing if they aren't centered around Him
  6. I need to be more deliberate about the time I spend with kids-I DO need to get into the homes more instead of relying completely on online contact, phone calls, school lunches, games, and more. This will allow me to get with the parents and be more visual in the lives of the students
  7. I need to disciple someone-I am not sure which kid/s I'll start with, but I need to look for ways to be deliberate in discipling someone (of the same gender of course)
  8. I need to be discipled-I have been mentored by several people throughout my spiritual journey, but I need to find someone that I look up to and want to learn from who is willing to mentor me through the things I am facing now.

Well that is all that is on my mind now. I would highly recommend taking in one of the conventions if you can...My next pick would be Cincy because it is the home of the soon to be Super Bowl Champion Cincinnati Bengals AND Skyline chili which cannot be beat in my opinion.

Thanks for reading my thoughts, walking along this journey with me, and praying with me. I am praying for all of you (who I do not know) who are on the same journey.

God is good!



Feltzy said...

A couple of things-

Matt: If you ever need me to come work with you-Let me know. No kidding.

Also, I really do not think that the Bengals are going to win the SuperBowl.

Eric and Kendra said...

Matt...It sounds like God is doing amazing things in your life right now. That's great to hear, though I can tell you are obviously going through a rough stage in ministry. Just remember that the reward on the other side is sweeter than any other. I know it's hard, but it really is true. I'll be praying for you...just as I have since we were crazy teens ourselves!