Last Wednesday, I sat with them.
You know. Them.
The middle school boys who cluster together and sit on the far side of the room after playing hard for half an hour before the start of service. The ones who draw on the back of offering envelopes and flip their Gatorade bottles during announcements. I sat with them.
Technically, I wasn’t the only leader on that side of the room that night. But, I sure felt like it. For the past few years I’ve been “Command Center” – sound-checking the worship band, creating and projecting slides, being the resident DJ, setting the stage lights, E) All of the above. I have a wonderful group of friends who are also leaders on Wednesday night and they help ensure everything runs smoothly, even assisting me if need be. This has allowed me to sit comfortably behind the partition in a “pay no attention to that (wo)man behind the curtain” kind of way. For two years that has been my office. The students know where to find me without question. I’m constant…
… or so I thought I was.
I was consistent, but not constant. Students knew they could find me in the back; it even became a running joke during services. They knew to come to me for sign-ups, take-home forms, and other miscellaneous items of importance that must be distributed at the end of service. They knew my name, some knew my face, and some knew both. I was consistent in showing up early every Wednesday and sitting behind the computer. The word “consistent” comes from the Latin “consistere”, which means to stop or stand still – and that’s exactly where I was in relating with these students: at a stand still.
In a slow and (sometimes) painful process, I have been relinquishing control of the multi-media center, which will always be my office, to a few students that I’ve chosen as protégés. Their desire to learn the ins and outs of a service is truly inspiring and has given me a renewed vigor in what I do. Having built this reliable team, I am now able to extract myself from my little corner and sit with them during service.
March 1st, I threw myself to the wolves. While not completely willingly (it was the only section of chairs left with an unclaimed end seat), I am beyond grateful for a God who had directed my path before I even knew where I was walking. The seat that I chose was in a section of students that I believed I had nothing in common with, but when I looked around it hit me just how many of these students I had talked to in small group a few weeks ago. That small group was powerful and students opened up about real-life experiences in a way I had never witnessed before. I led that group and they remembered me for it. In that moment, as I took in who I was sitting around, I realized what it truly means to be constant.
“Unchanging, loyal, or happening all the time,” is the definition of constant and perfectly defines the way I want to disciple these students from now on. I want them to know me as more than the the youth leader that sits behind the computer. I want them to see me as loyal – to God, to youth group, and to them. I want them to see that the type of relationship I have with God and the one that I desire to see them have with God happens all the time – every day – not just bottled into one weekly service.