I have been a full time youth pastor for just about 13 years. In that time I have seen many students date within the ministry. When a dating relationship starts I typically cringe because the majority of the time it means :
- There is going to be drama: The boy that is dating the girl is the boy that the other girls all wanted. Now everyone hates the girl and thinks the boy is a jerk.
- The ministry is going to lose a student: As much as they think they are meant to be together for ever, chances are there is going to be a break up. And when there is a break up in the average sized youth ministry it means one of the students is not going to be sticking around.
- It’s a pain for the youth pastor: PDA, small group assignments, most things that the youth pastor oversees is in some way affected by this relationship. (specifcally when it goes bad.)
I realize that these are not all true in all cases and in fact if you are a Christ follower I believe you will want to find your future spouse from within the body of Christ but do you have to try to find him or her at 14?
But then there are those times when it works. Those kids who beat the odds and found their soul mate at 17 and 18. Those who figure out early God’s plan for them and God’s plan for their spouse. Last weekend I had the great honor to perform the wedding of one such couple. I won’t say I had tears in my eyes, but I did have joy in my heart as they headed down the aisle together.
That as Saturday.
Then since performing a wedding and hitting the dance floor is not enough for one weekend; Raeni and I said yes to catering the church picnic as an opportunity to raise awareness and support for ENvision Paris. When you buy 360 hamburgers, 150 hotdogs, buns to match and all the fixing at Costco, it amazing the people who invite themselves to your house. Early Sunday morning we fired the grills and got to grilling (or frying as it is called here). 500 or so pieces of meat later the food was ready and the church service was starting. We had the best outdoor worship service and baptism seeing 10 people aged 8 to adult (I won’t say the age of the oldest since I don’t want to embarrass anyone.).
Then the picnic was in full swing. Food, bounce games, photo booth, hill billy golf, face painting and balloon animals filled the church yard as God’s people took the time to visit enjoy each others company and all in all have a great time.
Donations were made to ENvision Paris and the total from the day to send us on our way should be close to $4000.00. We feel so blessed to be part of what God is doing and excited that He has called us.