Last Wednesday Night (5-25-16)
For the past few months, I’ve attempted to do a little write-up from our latest night at youth group. This past Wednesday was grad night, and it was an unbelievably awesome time. Here’s what we did…
Videos we showed:
Graduation “Fall” Compilation (We show some variation of this ever year. You know, to inspire our future grads)
Graduation Song (A classic)
Grad Quotes (A DYM game. We made seniors play…and they NEVER volunteer for games)
I always do a shortened message for Grad Night. Typically, we have a number of other elements going on–senior slide show, dessert reception, etc–so I try to keep it around ten minutes. I spoke last night from Matthew 7:24-27, where Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount with that great illustration of the choice to build a house on the rock, or on the sand. I encouraged our students to “build” upon the foundation we’ve built over the past 2,3,4, and for some of them, 7 YEARS we’ve spent together (I still can’t believe that).
After the message, I invited our seniors onto the stage one by one so I could share something about each of them, and present them with their gift from our church. It wrecked me. I was a mess and choked up several times. But mainly, I was simply in awe of the gift it has been to be with these students.
Favorite Moment(s) of the night:
There were a ton of them. We had an open mic after our service and gave students, leaders, and parents and family members, a chance to share a story or encouraging insight about our grads. We had several sibling moments, where younger and older siblings shared about their brother or sister who was graduating. We also had some profoundly cool insights shared by our leaders. The whole night was ridiculously beautiful.
I could go on and on about last night, but I guess I’ll wrap it up with a closing sentiment. I truly believe, like in the core of my being, that youth ministry is a sacred gift from God. The title of pastor is one of many epithets I cling to proudly. I love the church and I love the work of ministry. But truth be told? I’ve found myself being ministered to constantly by the students in our ministry. They have inspired me, challenged me, and helped affirm God’s gifting in my life.
I had several parents come up to me last night and thank me for what’s happened over the past year(s) with their son or daughter. All I could do was look them in the eyes and say, “No, thank you. Thank you for the extraordinary gift of getting to hang out with your kids. It’s been life changing.”
So, that was grad night. It was one of those beautiful, other-worldly nights that filled my soul with so much joy. It was yet another poignant reminder of the beauty of the church and the gift of being in God’s family.
Thank you, Class of 2016.