My first real taste of ministry came in 2014 when I started a girl’s Bible Study group at my church. For two years, I ministered to several young girls alongside two of my very best friends.
I will never forget my time leading that Bible Study. We established a comfortable little group with a routine that remained week to week. We prayed, laughed, and studied the Word together. We all got to a point where everyone knew each other so well. I loved that little Bible Study group so much, I found myself telling everyone I could about it.
That is exactly what I did when I ran into a woman I had attended church with years prior. She asked me what I was up to, and I began telling her everything I could about the Bible Study group. She seemed pleased to hear about it, but then she stated something that caught me off guard:
“Pray for girls [to come] from the pit.”
Essentially, she was saying that I should pray for God to send us girls that didn’t quite fit the mold of our comfortable little group. Girls that had difficult pasts, tough lives, and stories that went way beyond the routine of our Bible Study time. Those were the girls that needed the Gospel just as much as anyone else.
I was intrigued. I had never been told anything like that before, and that statement has stuck with me to this very day, though I have long since transitioned from leading that group of girls.
The Lord has shown me that in our youth ministries, we can’t get too comfortable. We get into a routine of seeing the same students each week, finding a rhythm that works for us. We train up our students, ministering to them week in and week out. We get excited when we see change in their lives, as we very well should.
We shouldn’t forget, however, that there are those students out there that will shake up our routine. They will stretch us out of our comfort zones making us rather uncomfortable. They will frustrate us and maybe even scare us. But they do not scare God, and He is who we must point them to. The Lord has a great love for all of us, even those of us from the pit.
God reminded me of this great love when two mysterious boys walked into our youth group recently.
Two boys who stood out.
Two boys who were called, “ghetto kids”.
Two boys that were labeled possible gang members.
The Lord showed me that these boys were ones that He loved, and they needed the Gospel, too. The good news of Jesus Christ was bigger than any label placed on them, and it had the power to penetrate their hearts and transform them in a mighty way.
God reminded me of His great love when a young gay girl came into church with her girlfriend.
A girl known for causing trouble.
A girl known for making poor decisions.
A girl who had a past most people probably had no idea about.
She, too, is loved deeply by the Lord. She is in need of the Gospel and the amazing news of Jesus Christ that could heal every wound she has.
My prayer is that we never get to a place in our student ministry where we are comfortable with what we have. Instead, we should always have a longing to see students that seemingly don’t fit into the mold of our group and welcome them with open arms, just as Jesus does.
Friends, my prayer is that you would walk into your student ministries ready to love and lead those you see every week, as well as those new faces that just might walk into your church with a story that is far from anything you’ve heard.
You got this.
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” - 2 Corinthians 4:14-15 (NIV)