Monday, February 14, 2011

I Corinthians 13 for Youth Workers

-By Dave Boyd

And now I will show you the most excellent way.
If I give amazing talks every Wednesday with three points and a funny story, but have not love, I might as well be talking to myself.
If I possess deep insight into the lives of teenagers, and surprise the elder board by my depth of Bible knowledge, but have not love, I will not make a difference.
If I have a fired-up faith that can wake kids up (even on Sunday mornings) but have not love, I will not be used by the Spirit to bring revival.
If I give up my ambition for fame, and I learn to be content with my salary, and if I sacrifice my body to all-nighters, week-long mission trips, and a steady diet of fast-food and pizza, but have not love, it won't get me anywhere.
Love is patient, giving us peace even when teenagers are late getting back to the bus.
Love is kind, enabling us to speak inviting words in a world filled with sarcasm and satire.
It does not envy middleschoolers who have nicer phones or high schoolers who drive better cars than us, nor bemoan how we suffer for Jesus.
Love is not proud, and does not worry about our image among the church's big givers or influential leaders.
It is not rude, but listens and values others.
It is not self-seeking, realizing that our ministry is not for or about ourselves.
It is not easily angered when the boys don't follow the rules of our new game.
When looking at people, it does not remember their past criticisms, but only sees the best in others.
It always protects those who have never known safety, it always inspires trust by living a life of integrity, it always holds out hope for those who have lost their way, and it will never give up on those who stray.
Love never fails.
Stunning talks will be forgotten, and exciting activities will pass away. Even the most amazing retreat will move from reality to photos.
 Love, however, is the gift that is not forgotten, always needed, and forever impacting.
When I began in youth ministry, I was a child. I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But now I have become a man, putting childish ways behind me.
I will choose the way of love. 

Dave Boyd is a longtime youth pastor in Minnesota.

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