This Sunday evening, I invited the 2009-2010 Adult Leadership Team from Crossroads Youth Ministry to the Higham house for a pre-season cook out. The main purpose was bring the leaders together for some time to hang out, get to know each other a little better, and have a little fun. Since we ran short on time at our last leaders meeting, there was a little business needing attention, so we would need to discuss a few items. Lastly, I wanted us to spend time in prayer together.
In Pittsburgh, we experienced ministry standing a long side a phenomenal team of leaders. In the almost six years of ministry, these leaders became some of our closest friends. We worked together, we played together, we loved and support each other. The relationships we form made ministry a joy. The support network we had was amazing. And those relationships still run deep, even after 5 years of separation.
This year at Crossroads, I knew I needed a team.
For the last two years, my leadership role was shared with a young college graduate who was employed by a partnering church. She was a tremendous blessing to me and the ministry and I am very thankful for all she contributed. She was smart, talented, and had a wonderful relationship with the students. But, at the end of her two year commitment with the church I discovered that I had failed to build a truly solid team. To be completely honest, there was no team and I failed my leaders.
Coming into my third year, I knew I had to do things differently. Without my counterpart, I would be looking at a student body of 60 plus, alone. I could not continue to hobble along with the handful of volunteers a ended the season with. I needed to build a team that worked well together, who loved students deeply, and who would grow to love and support each other. I needed a team that was committed to dong great things in God’s name.
So I began praying. I began talking with adults. And, I picked up my two favorite books; The Purpose Driven Church, by Rick Warren, and The Purpose Driven Youth Ministry, by Doug Fields (my want-to-be-mentor; meaning, I want him to be my mentor.)
This summer I was reminded of what ministry should be, how it should operate, and who it all belongs to. The future and success of Crossroads does not rest in who I am or what I do. Crossroads, and the students connected with it, belong to God. This is His ministry, His project, His work. For more than 10 years, He developed the ministry, the programs, and the leadership. He loves and cares for these students and their eternity way more than I do. And He will continue to move among the students in Somerset look after I’m gone.
It’s God who builds His church. It’s God who changes the heart of the student. It’s God who shows us how to love unconditionally. It’s God who provides the resources to accomplish His plans. It’s God who will bring us the leaders and the students who need to be connected for Kingdom reasons.
Tonight, all but 3 of the current 15 Adult Leaders joined me for dinner and some fun. These are the Leaders that God is assembled. About half of this years team came to me to ask if the could help. No recruiting pitches with pie-in-the-sky promises of how great youth ministry is and why they need to come and join us. No free t-shirts to the first 25 who sign up for leadership.
God is putting together an all-star team; men and women who have a heart for students and their God.
This year, I am determined to do things differently. Crossroads is not about the agenda and brilliant leadership of Jay Higham. No, Crossroads is about loving students and being obedient to what God is calling us to do with them. God has a plan for 09-10. He has a purpose for each leader. So this year I am listening and relying on God. This year I am trusting God to present a direction; a way to go. This year I will be more discerning, prayerful, and faithful.
This year WILL be different. It will be God led. It will be build up with the Team in mind. The Team will be trained, challenged, supported, loved, and cared for. I’m not going to re-create what once was. Instead, I am going to take what God has already taught me, and apply it to the situation I find here at Crossroads. With God leading the way, and my Team walking beside me, the students of Somerset County are in for something BIG.