To my dear youth ministers/adult leaders,
I would often reminisce on my high school youth group days and think about the joys of being surrounded by a positive group. Even though we only saw each other once or twice a month, I still looked forward to reuniting and being a community. Never would I have thought that the day one of my friends invited me to "teens club" at my church parish, that my life would be changed forever.
As I sit and reflect on my life thus far, I've realized that a big part of who I am today is who YOU are. You are passionate about the youth, caring, humble, empowering, genuine, and supportive of our mission. I'm not really sure if I have enough patience to watch over a group of 20-30 teenagers on a weekend. But I'm thankful you have that virtue because we all know that you could be doing much more fun things (and be paid for it). You are a great example to the youth that love is unconditional. We aren't even your biological children but you become a spiritual father or mother to us to the point where we call you either "Dad" or "Mama".
I find myself smiling because I'm thinking about that one time when we were in New York and one of us broke a lightbulb and we were so scared to tell you but you were very calm about it. I love that I can talk to you about my faith or relationships or enjoy your presence at a game night with everyone. I've realized that hanging out with you is fun and fruitful. It was comforting knowing that I had a group of people to guide me in the right direction when we were planning retreats or activities for the group. As any other normal college kid, I struggle with figuring out what my vocation is. But I think back to you and see that it is possible to have a normal job and be adult leaders as well. Youth ministry can be a lot of hard work. It involves making sure we are fed and having fun, physically and spiritually.
I'm so thankful that God put you in my life. It is weird to think that I was once this quiet, awkward (still awkward) high school freshmen and I didn't know how much of an impact you would make on me. I am confident in being a leader because I had great examples to follow. You motivated me to be the best person I could be. You saw me when I was all smiles but you also got to know my secrets as well. You probably know more about me than my parents do because I was able to truly be myself when I was with the group. I could never thank you enough for helping me on my faith journey. Your presence is enough to keep me rejuvenated when life gets rough. It's because of you that I want to be a youth minister one day. I can't wait to tell my own group about you one day and how you made a difference in my life.
"Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 29:28)