I get asked a lot: “What is it you exactly do throughout the week?” To my friends, I typically make the joke of: “What do you mean? I only work on Sundays!” You’re probably chuckling because you might have thought the same thing at one point. Don’t be embarrassed; I use to think the same thing when I was growing up. In reality, there are certain things that are the same week to week. But overall, my schedule changes quite frequently. It certainly has taught me to be flexible and that it’s “okay” if things don’t always go as planned. But the common themes behind everything I do are: 1) Wholly devote myself to Jesus and 2) Wholly devote myself to the people of Northstar.
I can’t serve the people well if I am not first cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus. In this season of life, my prayer life is what has been on my heart. I’ve been reading through Tim Keller’s book called “Prayer” and the Lord has used it in an incredible way in my life. I just finished a chapter that highlighted a letter that Martin Luther wrote to a man in prison addressing practical prayers. To summarize, Luther encourages taking Scripture, looking at the instruction from Scripture, and allow that Scripture to lead you to thanksgiving, confession, and then act as a segue into prayer. I have a tough time focusing when I close my eyes because I begin to think of all of the things I have to do. In following Luthers’ council, it sets my mind on Jesus and his words. From this posture, Luther talks about breaking down the Lord’s prayer and making it practical into my everyday life. Lastly, he concludes with leaving room for the Spirit to “preach” as we listen to where God leads. I share that with you not to boast, but simply to allow you into my life. Because in order to wholly serve the people of Northstar, I must stay true to my first love which is Jesus Christ.
Prayer plays such a pivotal role, because it opens my eyes to the needs around me. “We can see why a triune God would call us to converse with him, to know and relate to him. It is because he wants to share the joy he has. Prayer is our way of entering into the happiness of God himself.” I am not designed to remain in communion with God alone. I am designed to share that love with others, and more specifically, with the people of Blacksburg and Northstar.
As the youth minister, most of my time is spent with students ranging from 6th-12th grade. If any of you know even a little bit of my story, you know that I had NO idea that I would be heading up a youth ministry. But, here I am, and I couldn’t be more pumped about what God is doing. Why do I love it? Well, Christ has revealed to me his eternal grace and I want to share that with our students. I look at our students and know that there are so many things they are wrestling with. They may never share those things with myself, our leaders, their parents, or friends, but it is my hope and desire that they know that Jesus loves them and wants them to let Him into those things. Every Sunday night we gather together and I get to share the greatest news that this world has ever heard: “Jesus, came to this earth, struggled with the things that we struggled with, overcame them, in order to empathize in our weaknesses and show us that he is the only way to God the Father. He wants to show us what life everlasting looks like if we just put our trust in Him.” They don’t have it all together and I constantly remind them that I don’t either. It is when I let my walls down that I begin to see their walls slowly come down. Ultimately, it is my desire to foster a friendship with them that will point them to the everlasting love that is found in Jesus Christ.
But, being a youth minister, I walk the line of relating to students, while simultaneously reaching parents and other “adult” members of Northstar. Just because I have the title of a youth minister, doesn’t mean I’m confined to only ministering to students. God has placed me with the Northstar family to love and to serve each and every single one of you. I desire to see each person one day walking intimately with Jesus because I know that he has created each of us to enjoy life to the full in Him.
Every Sunday, it is a joy to talk to you and to see what’s going on in your life. But, that’s not even my favorite part. I most enjoy when our members decide to let me into their homes throughout the week and engage with me. Church is not a building, and my prayer is that Northstar will never fall into that trap of thinking that a building is where everything happens. That is a small portion of our week and it brings me great joy to know that I am invested in people’s lives outside of Sunday gatherings. That is why I love serving the people of Northstar.