As the leader of the teen boys, I have to say, my boys and I have had some interesting times together this summer: some really good and some really, really bad. From the frustrations in the gym to some really incredible Bible studies, nothing beats my main leader running to me with a smile on his face to tell me and everyone else that he got saved. To clarify, when I say main leader, that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Basically if he was bad one day, the rest followed. If he was good one day, the rest followed, mostly.
I have to admit when he told me he got saved, I was caught off-guard and not sure if he was serious or if he’d gotten sound counsel. So I talked to him in the middle of glow games to follow up. Here we are in a pitch-black gym with glow sticks, black lights, people running around, and loud music blaring. But I managed to talk to him and see what he knew about salvation. Through talking to him, I was able to affirm that he was serious, and it was real to him. I could see that he caught it. This experience is the highlight of my entire summer. It made all the hard times, craziness, and exhaustion worth it. It’s like all of those things didn’t even happen once this kid told me he got saved.
I’ve been talking to the teen guys about leadership all summer. I’ve seen some step up, while others have told me they just want to be “regular.” A friend of mine always says, “Don’t talk about it. Be about it.” That saying has stuck with my guys, and while they don’t know everything about leadership, they know that good leaders follow Christ. They know that good leaders serve, and do not simply talk about service. And they also know that leaders are not perfect. Are all of them leaders? No. Do they all have the potential to be? You better believe it. In a community where they are told to get money, get girls, and act hard, I decided leadership is what they needed to hear about. So many people believe that our kids don’t have the potential to be leaders, but that is partially why they aren’t being leaders. If you ever have the opportunity to interact with our kids, first believe in them, then show them. I promise that if you show them that you believe in their potential, there is a better chance that they will see it. But as long as the generations before them tell them they can’t do something or they won’t amount to much, they are never going to believe they have potential. Never.
I believe in these children and students so that one day, they might believe in themselves. It took 6 weeks, but after pouring into him for 6 weeks and telling him he was a leader and believing it from week 1, it paid off. I look forward to the opportunity to disciple and mentor this kid in the coming years.