Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7
In case you missed it, adult leaders from all over our church hopped on buses last week for a 12-hour ride with about 500 middle and high school students. Unpaid, voluntarily, these super humans (if we’re being totally honest) chose to spend their week with a bunch of kids with one purpose; to help them connect. To connect with God, with each other, and with their leaders.
I wasn’t raised in church; in fact, I’d go as far as to say that I was intentionally raised out of the church. In the 5th grade, I managed to make a few friends at school who attended a youth group, and for whatever reason, I was allowed to go. Sometimes I’d catch a ride with my friends, or sometimes the youth group leaders would come pick me up. Either way, each week I was there. For a few years I’d have told you that I went there to hang out, or because it was fun. Whether I was learning how to skateboard or talking to a leader about something tough going on at school, I was always made to feel part of the group, and I was always made to feel welcome. As I got older I started to piece together that in the big ways, and in the little ways, they were always loving me the way God does.
In high school, I had my first opportunity to go to camp. Much like many of the kids at PC3, I relied on scholarships to be able to go. It was through the generosity of families at the church, that I had the opportunity to connect further, and to build stronger relationships. It was the first time that I was able to remove myself from my routine, and experience God in a whole new way. It was the first time that I realized my relationship with God didn’t depend on my parents or my success at school or work. I figured out that my relationship with God was just me and Him, and that no environment, no event, no other person could interfere with His love for me, and my ability to be loved.
It was also the first time that I had spent more than an hour with my youth leaders. Youth group each week was a great time to have fun and study a few verses. But an entire week away with friends and leaders offers connection in a way you can’t get at home. To participate in activities where you rely on each other, to break bread together, to pray and cry and hope and sing together for an entire week – this is when you get the biggest opportunity to share your faith together. And for some kids, it’s when they find their faith in God.
Our faith isn’t meant to be hidden, but shared. We grow in our faith more when we do it together. Hebrews 13:7 shares what most youth group kids already know; to remember our leaders and the faith that they had. These adults, these leaders, these super humans, gave students an opportunity to meet God in a whole new way. Masked in meals and obstacle courses and games and late-night cabin chats, was relationship building and faith seeking on a whole new level. When kids go to camp, they come back changed. It’s pretty tough to find a better example of God’s love, than the love of a youth leader.
- What opportunities do you have to make an impact on someone else and their faith? Where can you get deeper than sharing a few Bible verses, and forge stronger connections with God and each other?
God, thank you for the hearts of the leaders in our lives! Thank you for the effort that they put into shaping our hearts and our minds and our faith. Help us to see where we might be able to impact others to help them grow in their faith, and to see Your love! In Your name, Amen.
PC3 writer Annalee Thomasson wrote today’s devotional.