(At the time of writing this I was typing one handed whilst rocking our two-month-old son to sleep in my other arm and having my heart melted by his sweet face.. Apologies for any part of this that doesn’t flow smoothly due to this distraction!)
God’s timing is perfect. For everything, from a major career change right down to your next dentist appoinment. For you, at the time, it might not seem ‘perfect’, or even that God is in the midst of it. But every time you look back you’ll be able to see how beautifully he has orchestrated things for you. Today I want to share with you our Youth Min journey to date and how God’s timing has been perfect for our family. I hope it encourages your heart. This is our story:
Two months after we got married Charles and I started a Young Adult/Tertiary Student connect group in our home. We were both passionate about connect groups and had both had great (separate) experiences with them as students. There were also around 15 young people in our church at the time who we invited along. We were so excited to get started!
Well, after our first exciting meeting (all 15 young people came for lunch!) things seemed to go downhill. Hardly anyone turned up each night and the rest stopped replying to our texts- big morale killer. And on top of that I was dealing with horrendous morning sickness- physically drained of energy for MONTHS.
It got to the point where we literally had 1 person turning up each week. We had a choice to make- do we quit or push through?
We pushed through. Charles and I decided that we would continue to serve that one person whenever they turned up.
A few months later we decided to open up our connect group to high school students too. There hadn’t been a youth group running all year and we thought that the handful of highschoolers in church would benefit from a connect group. For the rest of the year we had 3 boys come to our house once a week and play Monopoly. They still talk about those nights, and the bad monopoly-related choices they made then (who pays $30M for a single property?!). I guess those weeks were really the beginning of our journey into Youth Ministry!
Youth Min – Officially.
We took a break over the summer (Dec-Jan here in NZ), had a baby, and started making plans for a Youth Connect Group to launch around mid-February. Our baby was 5 weeks old when we officially launched Youth (on our first wedding anniversary too)! We started with a handful of teenagers in our home (which we quickly outgrew) before moving into our church building. We had a fun year getting to know all those teenagers, starting our D Group, and figuring out what worked for all of us to make Youth enjoyable.
Fast-forward one year and we entered our second year as Youth Leaders. It was at this point that Tansquared Youth Ministry was born. I started blogging our youth min adventures because I saw a need for resources for volunteers. Most youth min blogs I had come across were written by paid staff, which although they had great content I often found it hard to relate to as a volunteer. I knew we weren’t the only ones feeling like this, and I knew we could offer encouragement and practical tips for others in our position. I shared what I needed- encouragement and resources- in the hope that it would encourage and equip others who stumbled across it too.
Then a year ago we started our third year in Youth Ministry, and the blog had its first birthday. It was during this birthday week that we discovered the cause of my exhaustion during the previous few days was due to another baby on its way! This was very unexpected, and threw a spanner in the works of our plans for Youth that year.
A Big Change.
As the year went on we started thinking about what Youth would look like for us the next year (this year). We were feeling good about continuing as we were- leading Youth and running a D Group- but with 2 sweet kiddies now. We had a great team and we knew that with certain things in place, 2018 would be rockin’.
But with one thing and another (I will share more of this in future posts) we made the call to step back from leading Youth.
And then our baby arrived, and somehow we managed to survive the last few weeks of Youth before we wrapped it up for the year!
Looking back at all of this, the timing for each moment has been perfect. Our Youth Min journey started with the arrival of our first baby. He’s been on the whole crazy ride with us. He’s had the amazing privilege of being surround by 20 or so crazy teenage humans who love him. And he’s given those teenagers the opportunity to get to know a little human- something many of them wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
And our journey ends (in some capacity) with the arrival of our second baby. We are no longer leading Youth from the front, and at this point are unsure of exactly what our involvement will look like in future.
Sometimes the timing of these things, practically, doesn’t look that great. I don’t think many people would want to launch a new ministry and have a new baby at the same time. But for us, God’s timing has been perfect, down to the day our babies arrived.
Our first baby served as a great ice breaker in the early days. Having cuddles with him helped some of our teenagers to relax or feel needed whilst we chatted. And being ‘set back’ by morning sickness the second time around was actually an opportunity for new leaders to step up whilst we (very naturally) transitioned out.
I guess the point of this is two-fold: I’m sharing where we’re at, but also I want to encourage you for where you’re at. If you’re on the brink of stepping in or out of Youth Min, if you’re not sure how it’s going to work out for your family, rest in the knowledge that God’s timing truly is perfect.
You may also be wondering what will happen with this blog now that we aren’t leading Youth. In short, I plan to continue it. It may look a little different as the year progresses, but it will continue. I regularly receive messages and emails from Youth workers sharing how it has encouraged them or given them ideas for their own ministry. I love that I sit at the bottom of New Zealand and can help or encourage someone else in a part of the world I’ve never even heard of! It’s cool to know that what you do blesses others. And I’ve definitely been blessed in return. So at this point, the blog will stay 🙂
I’ve also loved hearing from others in ministry and giving them a platform to share their experiences too (see this series and these posts). I’d love to be able to do more of that. So if you have a story or experience to share, please let me know!
- What’s your experience? How has God’s timing been perfect when it comes to your family and ministry?
- What would you like to see more of in the future of this blog? Leave a comment to share your thoughts 🙂