The church assigned me to be in charge of Teen Ministry which targets secondary school students. Our initial move is to start a Teen Service, which is scheduled every Sunday at 11am (concurrent with the Main Service II). Since April, I always attend the Main Service I (9-10.30am), followed by supervising the Teen Service. I am involved in this ministry in several ways: taking attendance and reporting it to the Worship Service Division, leading worship, supervising music rehearsals, arranging ministry schedule (WL, musicians, ushers), and updating prayer requests (Teen Ministry supervisors try to pray for the teens regularly).
It has been five months since we started our Teen Service. Thank God the ministry is growing in quality and quantity. When I sit down and prepare for this reflection, I was once again amazed by how God works in my life through this Teen Ministry. I was involved in this ministry with the expectation of being able to change people’s lives, but I came to realize now that I have also changed. As the ministry grows, all the people involved also grow: the teens and all supervisors, including me. Here how I have grown:
· Grow in knowledge
“… Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15)
Some of the teens are trying hard to find answers to their questions about God. They would ask me questions like, “If God is good, how come there is suffering and natural disasters?,” “The Bible was written by human, how can we be sure of its validity as the source of truth, as Word of God?,” etc. They told me that they got this kind of questions from their non-believer friends and they couldn’t provide answers.
When they came to me for the first time with these questions, I also sometimes could not answer it. Then I became keener in reading on those topics. I would go to book store to buy books and other types of resources to be able to answer them in a way that is easily understood. I think I am now more prepared to give reasons to my faith, not just to the teens, but to everyone who would ask me, and I must thank the teens. It is because of them, their questions, that I was encouraged to be better equipped.
· Grow in patience
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3)
Teens are still teens. A few of them still sometimes skip church or arrived in church very late with “unacceptable” excuses like: “I slept very late and I found it difficult to get up in the morning”, “I had CCA and after that went out with my friends yesterday. I feel very tired so I don’t go to church.” I honestly sometimes was irked with these kinds of answers. I felt like sarcastically answered them, “Use your alarm”, “Ask you friend to wake you up,”, “Don’t stay up until late”, “The service is at 11! It’s not THAT early”. But, of course, I restrained myself from saying that. I would normally tell them to learn from the mistake and not to repeat it later. But sometimes they just don’t learn their lesson and they will do it again next time.
I once thought of offering a morning call, but I buried that idea. I do not want to nag at them all the times as I believe it will not be effective. I decided to be patience with them because I realize that spiritual growth does not come in an instant. It must come from their understanding of the importance of worship and on how eager they are willing to grow in their relationship with God. And who can help with this matter? The Holy Spirit. I decided to pray more that God will bring them to His presence. So every Sunday morning on the way to church in the bus I always pray for each of them a simple prayer to God, “God, please get them up early in the morning and draw them to worship you today.”
· Grow in willingness to serve
One thing that impressed and encouraged me a lot is their willingness to serve the LORD. Many of them are really talented and quite experienced in worship leading or serving as musician. Quite often when I assigned one person to become musician for the following Teen Service, another person would come to me and ask me to include him/her to be additional musician. So, instead of having one, we have two musicians. Or when I assigned someone to be worship leader but he can’t make it the following week, it is easy to find a replacement. They accepted this responsibility with excitement. I was encouraged to know that they long to serve God, and it prompted me to look at myself. Am I that excited in accepting a ministry? Not really. I think I still need to learn from them on this matter. I thank God for making them a reminder to me.
What would I do differently?
-T - The tough questions they asked me was expressed only when I was talking one-to-one with them or in a very small group. They do not really have the courage to ask question in front of everyone. So I think it is important to hang out with them more often or form a small group for those who are interested to pursue this matter further.
- People who serve in performance-based ministry (such as WL, musicians, multimedia) could get easily fall into the “pride” trap. They want others to see them instead of God. I will need to remind them the danger of pride, the importance of humility, and the need to constantly checking their motivation in serving God. Is it because they want to show their abilities? Or is it an act of gratitude that God has given them those abilities?