See the above picture: I am a Senior Pastor, I am important, I wear a tie.
It took me a lot of sweat equity to get where I am: 8 years of working with Junior and Senior High School students, countless all-nighters, long missions trips away from my wife, and dirty smelly camp outs. And now since I have climbed the ladder of church success, and have been installed as the Senior Pastor, I am completely above all that teenage nonsense.
At least I should be, right?
Shouldn't the goal of every great achiever to be someone who moves higher up the ladder in his or her job; keep climbing never looking back? For me, that means I do not have to work any more with all those snot-nosed, teenage bundles of boundless energy. My new and improved assignment is to train and teach the sophisticated, mature adults. When it comes to a ministry career, I have arrived!
That is until Derek, our youth pastor, asked me to help out with the Junior High Mission Trip. He wanted me to work with him to help 7th and 8th graders learn how to share their faith. Since I am such an expert, (Did I mention I am a Senior Pastor?), he probably thought I could be of some help. So...reluctanly...I agreed to be a part of the trip.
Just think of how hard it must be for an accomplished man like me to lower myself and go back to helping teens? Can you imagine the humiliation for someone in my position to go back down the ladder to help kids again? But since I am such a servant, I swallowed my pride, and decided to agree to help.
What a guy, right?
Well it just so happens my two sons are in the 7th and 8th grade, and I figured this might be a good opportunity to show my boys how it is done. I should be able to impress them with so many years of experience under my belt. It time to show the young bucks how the old dog does it.
So all three of us started the mission trip today: My boys were excited; me...well...not so much.
As all the students arrived, I sat down as the experienced professional in the room, crossed my arms and watched. And then I began to listen to Derek teach: and as I looked around the room I noticed that the students where learning things that would forever change their lives. He instructed the kids on "How to Share the Gospel, and How to Love People." And as the students interacted with him, I began to realize something: THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN THIS.
I was overjoyed to realize that I was allowed in on tremendous moment in the lives of my boys - - they were learning how to be light in a dark, dark, world ...and I was the privileged one to be invited to be there to watch. This was not a downgrade or humiliation for me; this was a once in a lifetime opportunity - - to be a part of directly helping my children learn how to share with others about their true Father! Not many dads get to do that. Most dads only talk about guns, arrows, engines and footballs with their boys.
I get to talk about Heaven, Hell, the Holy Spirit, and the wonder of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And what really topped it off, today my boys actually talked with people on the streets of Grand Rapids...broken people, hurting people, real people. They were outside in the open world communicating one-on-one, face-to-face with real breathing people. I saw them smiling without having an ipod or game controller in their hand. Hard to believe, isn't it?
Y'know, it seems like only yesterday my boys were in high chairs. It seems like yesterday that I picked them up from the nursery. Now they are becoming adults who can more than adequately share the light with a lost world. Boy, time sure flies by.
I wonder, for those of you reading this, how many opportunities do you have left to help your kids learn how to reach this lost world? Or are you too busy to talk about it because another Tiger's game is on? Or is it below your pay-grade to help teens share about Jesus?