Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Planting the Seeds of Growth

Working with youth is my passion.  I love what I do and I love the youth that I work with.  Sometimes it is hard to tell how much of a difference you are making when you work with youth.  With so many social media outlets in the world we see many different faces of your youth.  They may act one way on Sunday at church and youth group and then a totally different way on their facebook page.   It is just so hard to be sure of the difference that you are making.  I always talk about the many different activities and distractions that are available in the world today that can pull them away from church and in a lot of ways pull them away from God.  Being a teenager can be a very selfish time in life.  I was selfish as a teenager.  It is important that you see that the difference that you make with your youth starts with the fact that they show up on Sunday nights.  That is a huge step in their spiritual growth.  I like to look at it like you are planting the seeds of their spiritual growth.

Have you ever walked through the forest and seen the huge trees with thick trunks and wonder how long it took those trees to get that tall?  The interesting thing about those huge trees is that they started out as a tiny little seed.  That strong, thick tree is as big as it is today because of the seed that was planted many years ago.  When working with youth you need to have the same outlook.  When we have them in church, on mission trips, at youth group, vacation bible school, and youth choirs we are planting those seeds of growth.
Our youth’s spiritual growth has to start somewhere.  It is up to us to teach them, to mold them, and to help them grow.  We have to teach them the love of Jesus.  We have to teach them that we love them for who they are and that they need to do the same to the people around them.  If we can teach them about the love of Jesus and plant seeds rich in faith, love, and knowledge, we can then sit back and watch them grow into powerful, strong, excited disciples of Jesus.
There are so many things at we have to fight as we try to plant our seeds.  We have to fight against bad soil which are the things that pull our youth away from us and youth group.   We fight against stormy weather which are the times of self doubt, self expression, and lack of self esteem that can wash away the seeds we have planted.  We have to deal with extremely dry periods which are when other things like band, sports, and cheerleading that pull them away from us.  Sometimes we use too much rich soil by our expectations and trying to cramp in too much knowledge which overwhelms them and cause them to take a step back.  
The soil can be rocky at times.  Sometimes weeds and thorns poke into our manicured soil and cause unexpected problems.  Each youth is an individual and that makes the seed planting process so hard.  We have to keep trying; we have to attempt to plant the seeds of growth.  We work with youth for a reason; we have green thumbs that allow us to plant those seeds. So the next time you doubt whether or not you are making a difference.  Look deep down in the soil and make sure you have planted seeds and that each week you are watering them with love, understanding and trust, and I guarantee that you are planting seeds of growth.  One day in the near future a tall oak tree of spirituality will be standing in front of you.    Keep planting one seed at a time.

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