"I need, I need a hand to hold,
To hold me from the edge, the edge I'm sliding past,
Hold on to me..."
- "Hold," by Superchick
It's interesting, but as my departure date comes closer, I think more and more about what I am leaving behind... particularly people I've been investing in over the past few months and years. I wanted to see them all this week, during my "time off," and I've barely been able to see any of them. I know it sounds really self-centered, but I wonder how they will be this summer without me. And I shouldn't feel that way, because God can work in their lives and draw them close to himself without me. And I know he will.
People tell me that I have a big ministry here, and praise to the Lord, I do. But does it need to end or get put on hold while I am gone? Do these people I love have to wait until I return before they get the encouragement and help they need? Can't the ministry continue without me? After all, God is the CEO of every project and he isn't going anywhere. But he needs workers... he's needed them ever since Jesus' ministry started on earth (see the end of John 4). I'm just a worker - one of Jesus' little helpers. Anyone who loves Him can do this job. Good grief, YOU could do this job. In fact, why don't you jump in while I'm away?
I don't know who all reads this thing, but those of you involved at TCF... why don't you start to spend time with the youth who are there at the church. Not just a "hello" on Sunday morning, but ask one or two of them if you can pick them up and take them out for ice cream and just talk and pray together. Be in their lives, find out who they really are, and challenge them to be who God's called them to be. They need you. They need you to just be present and care. Josh McDowell says that just being present in a young person's life can have a profound impact.
Also TCFers, reach out to those people who are on the margins. You know, the ones who come in late and leave early. Hang around the coffee pot after the music starts and talk with the people who try to sneak in unnoticed. Again, set up a time during the week to get coffee or a salad and ask them about their lives and the role God plays in them, and pray with them. Be intentional and persue authentic relationship. They need you. They need someone to listen and care.
There are other people I love... people who are walking with the Lord and just need loving encouragement and accountability, and people who are walking away from the Lord who need all the grace and love of an occasional 2X4 to the side of the head, to remind them of the freedom and joy and peace that Christ came to give them. Some of you out there know who I am talking about, and if you do, please take some time to spend with them as Salt and Light. If you don't know exactly who is on my mind, you know of people around you who have these needs, so reach out to them. Make an effort to be involved in their lives. They need you. They need the presence of someone who really cares about them enough to tell them that God cares about them.
There are a lot of vacant positions that need to be filled and God is eager to put his people to work. So get started! Oh, and write to me and tell me how the work is coming... I love hearing those kind of stories. :)