Editor’s Note: This was originally posted on Katie’s personal blog, Daily Impressions, and is reprinted here with permission.
by Katie Kavanaugh
I love my job. No really, I usually say that with no hint of sarcasm at least once a week.
I love the good parts.
When students call and tell you about their wins in life. When you notice that a student wrote the notes from a message you gave a year ago on her mirror. When a student comes straight to your office or texts you after his first day of school because someone asked him about camp. Those days are the best.
I love the bad parts too, though. The days where I have no idea how I got here, or why God picked me to work with what seems like the most difficult age you could go through. Days where I have to be reminded that it’s a calling, not a curse. Because those are the days I feel God leaning in the most. Those are the days that I have faith that God is bigger than the struggles that we face every season in ministry.
The deaths. The tears. The hormones and ever changing attitudes from “I think you’re the coolest” to “ew, get away from me.” Somewhere, sometimes, I see God in that.
There is a part I struggle with, though. It’s the part that can keep me up at night if I’m not careful.
It’s the chances that we don’t get to do ministry.
Sometimes we don’t want to have someone walk alongside us. Sometimes ministry can seem annoying and unwanted. Sometimes we would just rather do it alone.
When I was 19, I left the church for 10 months. I can tell you the exact day I walked out and the day I was ready to return. I was unreachable in that time in between. Phone calls would go straight to voicemail and texts would go unanswered. Sure, I was still a Christian. I thought Jesus was great, but the people were so unappealing. Everything they stood for, I just couldn’t figure out if I stood there with them.
I wanted no part of the Church. I wanted to run as far away as I could. So I did. I put my Bible on a table where it sat for so long that the back part of it became one with the surface. I am now reminded of that season every time I turn my Bible over and notice the leather that’s missing.
I was not the first person to reject ministry. My friends who loved me and reached out never gave up. They gave me space, and they were there the day I came back, with open arms.
I constantly need a reminder to stand there and wait. To know when to be silent and when to step in. To wait patiently for the day that the person who doesn’t want you there today may need you tomorrow.
Rejection hurts. There’s always part of me that wonders what I could have done better, if anything at all. But then there’s always a part of me that remembers that season seven years ago, where I just wanted to walk alone for a while.
It’s a dark and lonely place. I would never advise you to go there and camp out for longer than a day. And if you’re not careful, it can be dangerous. But more often times than not, there’s someone waiting on the other side for you to come back.
Katie Kavanaugh is a Middle School Youth Director in Savannah, Ga. She blogs at Daily Impressions.
CYMT is excited about its newest endeavor, Theology Together. Theology Together educates both teenagers and youth workers as they engage in theological reflection, spiritual practice, vital service, and vocational discernment. The Theology Together process produces reflective action that is embedded in the fabric of youth ministry in all of its contexts. We believe strongly that youth are theologians and belong at the center of tough, life-changing dialogue around faith, relationships, and life. We place teenagers in the driver seat alongside their youth pastors and leaders, equipping each individual to think differently about youth ministry, to provoke a sense of awe and wonder: a WOW moment.
Youth theology is theology built upon the simple doctrinal principle of the priesthood of all believers, and takes that principle right down to its natural conclusion: that all believers, including youth, teens, adolescents, etc. are theologians. It is theology that values all youth as theologians. Here we will share with you how to engage with youth theology in your own ministry.
A few weeks ago, we shared the launch of Theology Together 2.0. Today, Dwight (the director of Theology Together) will be sharing with us one experience […]