My first journal entry about the Factory Ministries was January 11, 2016. It simply says, “I’ve been emailing the executive director of The Factory Ministries about a part-time Women’s Youth Director position, and I am THRILLED”. A few days later, on the 16th, I penned, “A PHENOMENAL meeting with Chuck Holt—I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS POSSIBILITY.” Believe it or not, my excitement for this opportunity has not waned in the past 12 months, and I am just as thrilled about the ministry God has called me to do here as I was at the beginning of the year.
Although my excitement for this youth ministry hasn’t changed, and my impactful meetings with my boss hasn’t changed, there are a few things that have changed.
I’m a lot less concerned with external behavior now. Vulgar language doesn’t offend me like it used to, and stories of brokenness don’t churn my stomach now-just weigh on my heart. I’m so much less concerned about “how to prove that LGBTQ is wrong according to the Biblical text” and so much more concerned about making sure people feel loved. I look past the immodesty and the teetering vulgarity and I look to the open wounds, to the scars. I look to the heart and what’s behind it-what caused it to race so quickly, beat so irregularly? I look past the crude responses and the blatant disrespect of authority and I see lonely, hurting, insecure kids. I see ministry less about programs and more about relationships. I see relationships not as “icing on the cake” of my job-but as the very bedrock and foundation of everything I do-for the spread of the Gospel. With the school, with my volunteers, with the students-my focus is no longer “What do I do to have them follow me” but instead, “how can I serve them and show them the love of Christ?”.
Leaving 2016, and heading into the New Year, I am confident of many things. I am confident that I will make mistakes, that I will drop balls, that I will continue to tweak my leadership and ministry style and decisions. I am confident that God has called me to be the Director of the Youth Center, and consequently, He has and will equip me for this work. He has given me everything I need for His glory to be made known in the Youth Center. I am most confident that He has plans for so many lives to be touched by this ministry. In my life, He has provided an amazing school district, a skilled and passionate boss, an energetic and committed team of volunteers, and all the teens He wants me to love and invest in. I am immeasurably confident that He will guide, provide, and bless His work here at the Youth Center.