Sometimes you come across situations that can make what one does volunteering in youth ministry seem like it’s all for naught, and other times the little part that you play in a persons life while volunteering makes it all worth it.
For instance, this past Sunday I was confronted by one of my boys who brought a friend. His request to me was to “bring him into our small group because he’s not found one yet.”
Normally, I would walk him over to an area with some people who would help him “connect” with other students who go to the same school as him, but since his friend brought him I thought it would be best for him to hang with our group and we can deal with it later. This Sunday’s group was led by my other 2 co-leaders since I was sitting in for another group, but after church let out I made it back over to see how they were doing. I was worried that by not letting him go through “the system” he might not be able to connect long-term with people who go to his school.
So I walk over and see that the new guy seemed to be fitting in. He even asked if he could come to our pool party later on in the day. So we gave him the address and we all went on our way.
Fast forward a couple of hours, and we’re all over at the pool. I was able to have a conversation with the father of the new guy and he said that in the past 5 years they could just not get this boy connected to any small group, and they really hope that this works out for him.
Fast forward another few hours after tossing the boys in the pool, eating pizza, then going home. Just before going to bed I get this email:
Ben, thanks for having our son. He had a blast. For the first time, he felt like he belonged in a small group.
Here we have a persistent father, with such a simple statement that I believe will have a profound meaning for this boy’s future.
What’s even more special about this is even though the father emailed me, I really played such a small part in this whole ordeal. The 20 minutes after the message that was spent in our room in conversation as a small group was facilitated by my coleaders who I mentioned earlier, while I was helping another group. The experience this boy had in there with them was enough for him to feel comfortable enough to want to come hang out later in the day, and ultimately join or small group. I can’t even begin to express how much this means to us, and our small group. More importantly, how much it is going to mean to him.
This is what it’s all about folks.
That’s awesome. Really, it speaks to the current “community” you have with your small group boys right now. They don’t just see a new person as an outsider but rather someone who can be included.
Right after we got married we were visiting various churches in the area and couldn’t seem to find one that we felt was “the one” primarily because of the groups that we checked out. We found one, felt like family, and the rest is history.
Having that sort of community is something me and the other 2 leaders have stressed on the core group, and it looks like it’s working.
That’s so good to hear. It’s amazing how little things that often seem insignificant make a heck of a difference. I wonder what would have happened if you would have taken him through the “system”?
I applaud you for going with your “hunch” and making this kid feel welcomed.
I think one important factor in a successful group is if we are compatible. It’s hard to make it work if there is someone who’s not willing to let God work in them. If people come with a willful desire to let God work. BOOM! Success.
The system that we have is not perfect, but it works pretty well. With that said, it doesn’t work for everybody. I’m pretty sure he would’ve eventually been placed in a group with people who go to his school, but that’s neither here nor there. He’s where he belongs now 🙂
Ben, that is so AWESOME!
Yesterday I had the opportunity to serve 88 people who were baptized at our church and it was incredible.
Those who volunteer their time and energy to serve the youth are molding and impacting the future in every sense of the word. Thank you.
It’s what we’re all supposed to do, right?
That is so awesome, Ben, and you’re right, it will mean the world to him to have been able to connect in a small group like that. That’s what young people need, and I’m excited to hear that he’s connecting and will grow in his faith because of it!
I am and I am not connected in a small group community. Confusing, I know. I try to attend the weekly meeting of my ministry (I have a campus coach who actually attends and works with student leaders) and while there are times it does help, a bunch of 18-22 year olds don’t really know the same experiences as a 31 year old. So I’m looking for a group to be in personally.
It’s one of those things as an adult, and I can understand it difficult to be able to connect with a group of guys enough to have that kind of community.
I’d suggest just asking a couple of guys to hang out every other week or so, see if anything develops. I mean, why not?
Good luck in finding a group Jason.
Your impact on the new group member is Eternal and Your contribution to that ‘community’ is Eternal…you may not think it’s much, but thank you for making Him known through you.
Not in a small community group…..for now. Thanks for the video post. Loved it!
c’mon pops! Get on that!
Very powerful, Ben. Another great insight into the Father’s persistence.
I have guys that I can open up to. It is informal, but effective. So glad that young man was able to connect.
Knowing that you have those “go-to” guys is key, and making it a regular/consistent thing would be the next step (imo).
Sometimes you just sit back in awe of God’s movement among us. There is someone in that group that needed him and so he was brought in. It may not have been him needing the group. He will bring with him the blessing because he was accepted.
Sitting back in awe is something I’ve done quite often as of late.
Hey Ben, hope you’re doing well. Miss reading your posts, but that community must be amazing since it seemingly has sucked you out of the blogosphere?!