It occurred to me recently that, in my time as a minister, I have been jealous. Not over cars, or guitars, or kitchen equipment – all things that I would be prone to being jealous over. No. I have been jealous because of all of the big events that take my students away from me throughout the year. It’s dumb. And I don’t have the energy for that mess.
So here are 3 reasons why we should not be jealous when our kids skip out of our programs for other activities from time-to-time.
1. They always come back.
I’ve never had a student go to another youth group for a special game night or conference event, then come back to me and say, “Man, Derick! They have it together over there. I think you either need to change your program or I’m gonna bail and take all the rest of the youth group with me!” That’s never happened. But what I have heard, many times and from many students: “Derick, I had a lot of fun at that event, but you know what, I wouldn’t want to do youth like that every week.”
2. It gives them perspective and builds community.
Nothing makes a person better understand what they have until they gain outside perspective. Why would we want to take that opportunity from our students? Let’s weigh it out for a moment. Either little Johnny comes to our youth group and we get to add one student to our weekly numbers. Or little Johnny gets the opportunity to be ministered to in ways that may very well open him up to a better understanding of what I am helping him work towards. Let’s encourage opportunity!
Also, the relationships little Johnny builds during this event may bring outsiders to my next event. Let’s spread this around a bit! The other ministries in my town are not my enemies! They are my friends and co-laborers and I need to support them.
3. It makes my life easier.
Every time that we pair up with another program, be it the citywide VBS, the annual Night of Champions, our big music festival, or whatever, my kids are motivated to change their world and I usually have little to do with it. These are opportunities for my kids to see big gains in their walk with God and I don’t have to sweat over it. Now, of course, I’m involved in all of these projects, but I’m not in charge of them. I just help. And it’s healthy to just show up and help sometimes.
So there you have it. My 3 reasons not to be jealous when my students bail on me for a week or two…. Oh. My. Gosh… What if they don’t come back?? What if they like the other programs and my numbers get too low?! What if I lose my job?!? AND MY HOUSE! We will be homeless and living out of our mini-van down by the river…
I don’t have the energy for that mess. Let the kids go. God’s got a plan for them and it’s a good plan.
How do you feel when your students join other ministries from time-to-time? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment’s section. Seriously. We’re all in this together!