What We Are Not Won’t Help

Kate (my wife) and I had our small group last night which I had to say was one of the best we ever had. A lot had to do with the fact that the questions at the end of the message really pushed the group to go deeper into how they were feeling. One of the questions asked us to write down four emotions (Happiness, Anger, Fear and Sadness) and then describe at that moment what things were triggering those emotions.
One thing I have not shared on this blog, but I will today is that in two weeks I will be a father, something I’m happy about and something I’m constantly thinking about so you could see how that fits into the Happy and Fear categories. But what I found interesting about the exercise was what popped into the Anger and Sadness sections.
I found myself SAD because of the possibility of not hanging with students tonight because of the snow. The fact that I may not see them, talk to them about Christ, laugh, and listen to them depressed me a bit. But the fact that I felt sad, let me know that I do love them and was a reassurance to me that I love what I do and that I am in the right place.
I found myself ANGRY because of two things. 1. the possibility of snow ruining the chance for me to hang with students and 2. the frustration I have felt lately in communicating what exactly it is I do. Let me explain:
I know what I do, I know my job, I know my role, the staff knows my job, they know my role, the ministers know my job and they know my role….but…there are a lot of people out there that don’t know exactly what it is that I do and what it is exactly our student ministries do here at Church of the Nativity. Over the past 5 1/2 years we’ve seen a steady growth, a healthy growth in the attendance of students at programming; however, the breakthrough in attendance that the rest of the church is experiencing squashes our results. There’s like 3500 – 4000 people who come here on a weekend 120 of them are the students involved in our programs. But that means there are still 780 teenagers who are a part of this church who don’t. Why? That’s what I’m angry about…I have never been sure why…until after some random conversations here and there, that people aren’t exactly sure of what our student programs are. And I’ve spent a lot of time telling people what we aren’t: We aren’t religious Ed, CCD, Sunday School, Youth Group, or Life Teen. And that’s probably the problem is that I’ve spent too much time telling people what we aren’t instead of what we are. It would be like someone asking me, “What’s your name?” and me replying, “Well, it’s not Carl, it’s not Bob, it’s not Steven, and it’s not Eric.” Would I really be answering their question…no. So what is the student ministry at Church of the Nativity…it’s this:
It’s church for teens…there’s contemporary music, a message designed to inspire teens in their Christian faith, activities and small groups to help them go deeper and form Christian bonds. Essentially our student programs (Upward Ministries) meet consistently in irresistible environments to form authentic relationships in the name of Jesus Christ. Upward Ministries (our student ministry) is Authentic, Consistent and Irresistible Ministry. I hope that clears it up.