Five years ago today we exchanged the title of Youth Pastors for Lead Pastors. We said goodbye to over a decade of working with teenagers to dive into the unknown world of leading not just a church, but a church that didn’t even exist. We had a two year old girl and a two week old baby to contend with and we weren’t even sure we would have a paycheck in July. We had just moved a month earlier to Salmon Creek and I’m pretty sure that the word “CRAZY” was stamped across our foreheads. We were neck deep in risk.
Fast forward to tonight. Precisely five years later, we attended the youth worship night that is completely planned and executed by teenagers. Talk about an amazing reality check. I watched as dozens of teenagers worshipped, sang songs that they wrote, lead communion, shared testimonies, preached, and did a skit for their peers. I didn’t know more than a couple of them five years ago. Now, I’ve watched as God has molded, shaped, and changed their lives and their families in truly miraculous ways. I’ve watched God heal them, help their parent’s marriages, and call them to ministry. I’ve watched as they succeeded, failed, and unceasingly got back up to see what would happen next. I have laughed with many of them, cried with many of them, and been frustrated beyond imagination when they made bad choices.
Someone asked me tonight if I missed youth ministry. Oh, no. No, I don’t miss it at all. Why would I? We’ve brought it with us into every facet of North Creek. We’ve created what I’ve always wanted…teenagers are just a part of our church in serving, in giving, in conversation, and in my life. We don’t pat them on the back for being great teenagers. We pat them on the back for being great people. Called by God, gifted in ministry, and ready to impact their community right now. They are a part of my life at nearly every intersection.
They kept singing tonight when I stopped and watched them. I thought to myself that they have no idea how big this task seemed to us five years ago. They have no idea how many sacrifices were made for them to have this worship night. They have no idea about the amount of sweat, work, and pain that went into this. And they have no idea that my greatest fear was leaving the teenagers I loved to dive into the unknown. They have no idea that their very presence in our church simply makes it all worth it.