In Ministry I am sure we all come across things that surprise us sometimes in good ways and sometimes in bad ways. I think the longer I am in youth ministry the less surprised I am by things that happen. We have had people throw up in vans on youth trips, I had several students multiple times moon our other vehicles following service events…not sure why service brings that out but for some reason it does. I have had in the same week a parent come in my office (very graciously I might add) and explain that they think we are doing too many “fun events” for the youth ministry and we need to do more “serious stuff” and then literally a couple of days later a different parent (very graciously as well) came in and said we do too much “serious stuff” and we need to do more “fun events” for the youth ministry. There have been times that I have totally thought an event was a bomb and people seemed to get a ton out of it while other times I thought something went really great but showed little lasting effects.
This past summer’s mission trip was definitely one of the roughest for me. There were students who worked extremely hard, had great attitudes, and remembered why we were there in the first place. There were others who looked for ways not to work, complained a lot, and seemed to look at the trip as more a vacation than a mission trip. Each year when we come home we do a mission trip presentation for our church with songs, testimonies, and a message. I have to be honest and say I was not looking forward to it…I thought what are people going to share? Did very many people get anything out of the trip? I was surprised to say the least…
Teens opened up and shared how God had used this to stretch them out of their comfort zones to reach out to those around them who were hurting in their neighborhoods, God used the trip to spur the teens on to truly see how they were called not only to serve on the trip but in their own communities, and a brother and sister shared how God used this trip to begin the healing process with them and their father who they had harbored some bad feelings towards for quite a while. The testimony that the brother and sister shared was very touching to me. It showed me how greatly the Holy Spirit was working in their lives to forgive someone just like Jesus had forgiven them. Honestly I believe we could have stopped the service after their testimony and it would have been a great day. I say all of this to say that God is never-changing but He is definitely a God who surprises me a lot. How has God surprised you?
Please feel free to share a funny story or a serious story of a surprise you have had in ministry!