by Traever Wieland, Campus Life [M] National Team, Ft. Wayne YFC             

These five little words put together with a dramatic pause after them can really have great power.  I have been in a room where the presenter begins to describe the award and what that person has done.  For a brief moment I think, “that could be me…I’ve done some of those things (not well enough to win an award, but I’ve done some of those things).”  My mind races, my pulse quickens, hands begin to get a little clammy…what if it is me?  What would I say?  How would I respond?  Do I really have to get up in front of all these people?   And then the next few words come (insert award winning person’s first and last name), and reality comes crashing back to me in the wave of applause for this incredible person standing up and making their way to the stage. 

An award, a card, a gift, a thank you, a Caribbean cruise…there are days that I’ll take any form of recognition acknowledging that what I am doing is worth doing.  In youth ministry we rarely get these nods of approval; these little gestures that signify a job well done.  I actually have a small box of almost every note of encouragement that I have gotten over the last 13 years of ministry.  Unfortunately, it’s a small box, but in those times of encouragement droughts, they have helped to sustain me.  I know what you may be thinking, “God should sustain you through the hard times…He is supposed to be your strength…you shouldn’t look for man’s approval.”    I guess that’s just the human side of me wanting to hear that what I am doing really matters to someone else in this world.

So to you, youth ministry worker, I say thank you.  Thank you for the hours upon hours that you spend investing into kids.  Thank you for pointing kids to the truth, love, grace, hope, and forgiveness that comes only through Jesus Christ.  Thank you for planning your talks, and trips, and activities.  Thank you for living a life that is glorifying to God.  Thank you for listening.  Thank you for constantly giving of yourself.

And the award goes to…(insert your name here)!!!

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