I remember the firs time I felt that I was being called to Youth Ministry. Now, I don't take that word, "called," lightly. I rarely use or even like the language of calling, but after years of trying and testing that sense that God might have wired you for something in particular, it might be safe to use it.
When I was in Jr. High, probably 7th or 8th grade, I went to this student conference called Planet Wisdom with my small Southern Baptist youth group. We actually went a few years in a row and it became one of my favorite events of the years throughout high school, but I remember that first year in particular. A no-name band out of Texas called Mercyme was the worship band and this young, up-and-coming communicator named Mark Matlock was the main speaker. To this day, when I think of moments where I have felt what I can only identify as the presence of God and when I've felt immersed in worship to God, I have to think of the Planet Wisdom conference. At the end of this incredible weekend, Mark made an invitation. It wasn't a turn-or-burn kind of alter-call. If you know me, you know I'm not a fan of alter-calls but Mark created an atmosphere of simplicity, it was a simple invitation to acknowledge if God might be speaking to you. Now, I was and had been a Christian. Indeed, I was a committed one. I didn't feel the "tugging of the Spirit" or any kind of pressure to stand. But I was feeling something. At that moment, like a flash, I realized that I wanted to do this stuff for other people, I wanted to give other students what I had been given. At age 12 or 13, I realized that I was wired for Youth Ministry. Then Mark said the magic words, "if you feel like God might be calling you into full-time ministry someday..." I had to respond...
That night, at the Planet Wisdom Student Conference, marks the first night in a continuing journey for me. I still think back to that night. I thought back to it when I left for college. I though back to it when I graduated college. I still think back to it when I feel discouraged, frustrated, and inadequate to do ministry.
Well today I get to take my students to the Planet Wisdom conference. It's one of the best, most well balanced, and engaging youth events I've ever shared with students, and I can't wait to see how God might speak this year.
Epic. Awesome. Life-changing. PlanetWisdom from YouthWorks on Vimeo.