I find that I’m often very transparent about the ugly side of Student Ministry on this blog. I don’t mind admitting that there are many struggles that come with this calling. And I’ll even admit it’s been quite tough lately. Sitting in a chair recovering from a torn Achilles tendon gives you a lot of time to sit around thinking and being miserable. It doesn’t, however, lend itself to investing much in students. That, of course, can lead a Youth Pastor to a pretty intense state of depression.
That’s where I’ve been.
It’s easy to stay in that mindset…to begin to think that all of our efforts go unnoticed, unappreciated, and ultimately are ineffective. Every now and then we need something to snap us out of it. That can come in many forms. Recently I learned that one of the most effective forms is…a cupcake.
Yes, a cupcake.
I hobbled my way to Youth Service the other night. I got there early so some of my students could help my wife straighten the room up. They were supposed to be there at 6. They didn’t show up until 6:45. Our music director showed up at 7:25 (service is supposed to start at 7:30). We waited until 7:45 to start…and when we did, we had about 20% of our youth group. In the middle of feeling miserable, one of my students who had not been to Youth Service walked in. She looked very excited to see me. She sat next to me and talked for a while. Then she stated, “Well, I didn’t know if you’d be here tonight with your ankle the way it is, but just in case, I made you some cupcakes. Hope you like them.”
Now, if you have been in Student Ministry for any length o time, you know that cupcake was not just a cupcake. It was her own little oven-baked, frosting-smothered, strawberry-topped way of saying, “I love and appreciate you, and you’re making a difference in my life.”
The rest of the Youth Service went very well. With the small crowd, we had one of the best worship services we’ve had in a long time. It was almost as if God set up the entire service to gently nudge me to keep on keeping on.
The cupcakes, by the way, were delicious.
So if you’re feeling down today, let me remind you that even when you feel like you are spinning your wheels, your students do notice, and you are making a difference. It won’t always be easy…but it will always be worth it.
Especially if you like cupcakes!