Archives For Live to Serve

To Steven’s new small group leader or youth pastor,

You’ve probably heard success stories about a kid who just showed up one day, awkward as all get out and uncomfortably inappropriate. Then a leader comes along and takes this boy under his wing and mentors him through the thick and thin, even getting him to head up prayer time. Well, Steven’s story is probably a really good example of one of these.

At least for the first half of that, not so much the 2nd.

I have hesitated writing this to you because I really want you to have your own experience with him. However, I wish somebody would have told me a little bit about his personality ahead of time, so hopefully by sharing this with you it will be a completely opposite story than mine. You see, the first time I met Steven was when he was in 7th grade. We were on our way to a weekend retreat, all piled up on the charter bus and he had asked to sit next to me. For the next hour and a half he told me his life story about being adopted, having his older brother yanked away, and hearing him justify the type of physical and verbal abuse he endured before getting adopted.

It’s the kind of story that is painful to hear, and as of writing this letter this story does not yet have a good ending. Continue Reading…

To Jimmy’s new small group leader or youth pastor,

I don’t really feel like I know much about this guy. He’s homeschooled, came halfway through 8th grade and honestly, I didn’t even really grasp his name until our last retreat as a small group. Fortunately for him, he found a friend who is in our group who is also homeschooled.

Jimmy’s moved all the way fromĀ Atlanta, by way of California. Due to some crazy family circumstances, he’s been moving around a lot, so please try and not force him to come out of his shell. Also, don’t get on him to much for being shy. He can’t really trust making friends since he’s had to move so much. With an absent father and older brothers constantly ragging on him and teasing him into submission, I can’t say I blame him. Yes it is completely unhealthy and it is unfortunate, but all you can do is remind him what he’s worth.

Don’t fret though, there is hope in all of this. If you want to see him light up immediately, just mention the words “Tri-Tip.” Continue Reading…

To Daniel’s new small group leader or youth pastor,

I’m not going to lie to you, I think Daniel’s my favorite of the bunch who will not be with us next year. He is by far the smartest boy in our group of guys. Very articulate, extremely well-mannered and as honest as they come.

When he first started coming to the group, Daniel didn’t hesitate to rattle off his biblical knowledge. It was to the point of obnoxious, really. You could definitely tell that either he was raised in a Christian school or his parents were diligent in making him memorize his bible verses. This grew old very quick among the rest of the guys, and he slowly began to separate himself during large group throughout the weeks.

Then, his first weekend retreat happened… and he opened up. Continue Reading…

Letter to William’s Leader

Ben —  May 7, 2013 — 1 Comment

To Will’s new small group leader or youth pastor,

When I first met this little dude, he swore up and down that he could out-dance any 6th grader he met. With confidence as high as the sky, he was slowly brought down to earth when dancing at our first retreat. He met with another boy in the cabin we shared, who challenged and beat him to a dance-off. At that moment he was humbled, but he shook it off and just said “Good job man, I just need to get better, I’ll show you next time.”

Respect, and resilience.

Did I mention he was, and still is one of the shortest dudes out of our group of guys? He may seem like he has a chip on his shoulder, but it’s really just his confidence in him knowing who he is at a very young age. A lot of this has to do with his loving parents. These people are especially key in gaining access to his life, and will definitely be the difference in how high on his list of priorities he puts you and any outings with the group.

Get to know his parents, get them to like you, and don’t screw it up. Continue Reading…

Letter to Sam’s Leader

Ben —  May 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

To Sam’s new small group leader or youth pastor,

Hey you, I hope this letter finds you well. I’m sure this has to go all the way up to New York since he has probably moved up there by now, but I wanted to give you a little insight on this awesome dude.

I met him as Jamal, and he’s leaving us as Sam. In the 2 years I knew him, he got baptized through another church which traditionally requires you to change your name to a more Christian name. Hence, Samuel.

Let me tell you a little bit about Sam. He’s not going to talk your ear off. Quite the opposite actually, but when he does talk be sure to listen. Ask him anything you want to know about him and he will open up and tell you everything. He’s an excellent listener, and observes every little detail about his surroundings. He is very aware. Continue Reading…