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One of the most important things I do in Youth Ministry is continuously ask God to work on my attitude.  Of course what I'm really seeking and growing toward (I hope) is putting on the attitude and love of Christ.

Before I meet with students for worship, hanging out, special events, etc., I ask God to give me the right heart, the right mind, and - maybe most importantly - I ask Him to help me when I meet new students to love them before I meet them.

And I really do.  I make the decision that when I meet a teenager, no matter how stinky, rude, mean, troubled, distracting, whatever they are, I'm going to love them.  Am I perfect in this practice?  Of course not!  But man does it help to pray and set my mind and heart on choosing love and acceptance on the front end BEFORE the new junior high kid that shows up puts a hole in the wall or the high schooler falls asleep during my message time.

Do you do this?  Do you decide before you ever meet a new student that all you will do is love them?  Do you decide against judgement, criticism, resentment, or impatience?

What if our students did this as well?  What if they decided that every one of their peers that walked through our church/youth room doors was going to be loved, accepted, encouraged, and welcomed just as they were?  How awesome would that be!?

I'm going to challenge my students to do this - I encourage you to do the same!

- Tim B.
 


Comments

02/04/2011 08:36

Great attitude. Even after so many years of ministry, I still catch myself pre-judging students. God recently gave me lots of grace in this area: there's a new 9th grade guy who moved to town a few months ago and has attended our youth stuff just about every week. He's really quiet and always seemed annoyed at me. But I decided I would be obnoxious and tell him every week that I was glad he was here and have some sort of conversation with him. It seemed like I made zero progress with him, and every week he wouldn't make eye contact with me and seemed agitated that I was even talking to him. Some weeks I didn't have the most charitable thoughts about him, but I kept trying. His mom emailed me this week to thank me for caring for her son. She explained that he has Asperger's Syndrome, and that no other church they've attended (they move every 2 years because of Dad's military career) had made such an effort to make their son feel welcome. I was blown away, because I knew it was all God leading me to initiate those conversations.

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02/04/2011 19:34

Great reminder! Thank you!

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02/10/2011 00:27

Great word. Our students can see straight through us when we prioritize some students over others. This message is then what they carry into their schools. It's humbling to understand the importance of our nonverbal communication.

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Tim
02/10/2011 09:31

Thanks for the comments guys! I appreciate you all sharing this passion, to love students in spite of their imperfections (the same that God does with ALL of us!).

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Tim
02/10/2011 09:47

ALSO - thanks for including links to your sites guy, I'm setting up links to them on the links section above.

Did I use the word links enough?

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