December 9, 2015
This Week’s Storyteller is…
Rob Bullerdick, St. John’s UMC, Sarasota
“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Mark 2:17.
This has been my life verse lately, and the verse that has been shaping the youth ministry God has appointed me to. I think when most people think of youth ministry, the first thing that comes to mind is dodgeball, pizza, and naps…all in one night! The sad thing I’ve realized lately, when asking people their thoughts on youth ministry, it was just that…food and games. Not once did someone say to teach youth about Jesus, their identity in Him, or even to have an adult who cares about them. This wasn’t okay with me. I feel my duty to God as a calling…not a career or job to appease the world view of youth ministry. I wasn’t sure why God kept putting all this on my heart; I felt like He was preparing me for something.
The next week, and weeks to follow, we started getting a new community of students in our ministry of St. John’s cradle babies, and this group calls themselves the “misfits.” These are our gay/lesbian students, transgender students, students who struggle with substance abuse, and students with no family…in short, students who are struggling (aren’t we all?). I was surprised they ever even came to church, let alone continued to come every week and bring their friends. Some shared that their parents forced them to come, some say they are searching; and what broke my heart is some said their previous youth ministry kicked them out for the “normal kids” leaving.
That’s when Mark 2:17 popped back into my head, and I heard the heart of Jesus tell me “This is why you’re here” - “they are your mission.” It has come with many struggles and difficult times, long nights…but this is our mission…for all of us. We don’t run away from the messes, we run towards them! I learned real quick that following and obeying Jesus isn’t going to always be the easiest road, but I promise you it’s refining and transformative. Remember what Jesus’ ministry looked like, and think of whose ministry we want to mimic the most…Jesus. Who did he spend time with? Who did He minister too? We are a church…a hospital of sinners, not a Christian club with masks.
It’s been emotional and fulfilling journey seeing Jesus break the chains in sooo many of these student’s lives, falling on their knees literally before God giving up their old ways. I hope this encourages you to let God’s eyes be your mirror, to see His children through His eyes. “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” If not us then who? The mission is real and eternal lives are at stake…how will you leave your mark?
Up Next Week…
Larry Coleman, CrossRoad Church, Jacksonville
The disciple testifies about how putting God at the center of their world, he and his wife had a marriage full of love and life that surpassed his hopes and expectations.
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011