You'll know what to do.

Hello friends. Sorry for the delay in blogging this week!

On Monday, a very good friend and parent to some of our students passed away after a long run with cancer.

We've known this was coming. It's actually been a part of our ministry at Westminster for almost as long as we have. And still it doesn't feel any easier to think that. It's still difficult.

At one point this week, someone signed an e-mail to me about the boys and their situation "I'm sure you'll know what to do." This person meant well, and I appreciate their confidence, but man, do I ever not feel like I know what to do.

I don't feel like I had a battle plan when it comes to someone close to us dying. I don't think any of my plans would have been any good if I had any. But all the same, I kind of walked around on Tuesday feeling like the worst youth pastor in the world. "I don't have a plan...I don't know what I'm doing." It all came to a head when I was at breakfast with Matt and Ed, sharing my ideas for a talk this week, and realizing together that I was about to run into a brick wall at full speed. The talk I had prepared for that night would actually have made things much worse at that point. I think I might have said a few things at breakfast, but my mind was just full of doubt and conflict. For the first time in a real long time, I felt like I didn't know how to minister to the kids in our youth group.

Now, a couple of things came from all of this. First of all, Matt and Ed are huge in my life! Having friends who aren't afraid to tell me that I'm about to do something profoundly stupid is incredibly important to me. They have saved me from myself on more than a couple of occasions. If you don't have a group of friends to get together with on a somewhat regular basis, please seek some out. It's crazy important to your ministry, I'm fairly certain of it.

Secondly is that while some people can abuse this idea, it is absolutely critical to make sure that you are in tune with the Holy Spirit more than you are your plans. This isn't to say you shouldn't conduct any sort of plans, because you absolutely should. But the Spirit is much stronger.

Yesterday as I was driving back to the office, I heard a very clear voice tell me that the talk I had written that night was for me, and that the kids wouldn't be served by it at all. And then that same voice reminded me to go back to what we need to hear most in youth ministry: the gospel of grace. And so I wrote a new talk, and went into Veritas feeling pretty good about everything. Which brings us to the third point:

Please don't ever forget why you're in ministry. I wrote a while ago about keeping the kids first, and in the midst of all this confusion and sadness I had forgotten my own mantra. But spending the night last night at Veritas with the kids that I have loved serving for the last three years was awesome! It's a careful line, because you don't want to dump any kind of emotional baggage on your kids (which I don't think I did last night, or at least I hope not). But just being around them last night reminded me why I love doing what I do.

So when you don't know what to do next, when the future is cloudy, keep some good friends by your side, listen to the Spirit speak to them, and always remember to serve the kids God has placed in your life!

More to come later today.