Oct 8, 2011

Ministry as Guide

This is an update from our fall intern, Jessi. She is making wonderful progress in learning how an urban, poverty-informed ministry operates. She is become secure in her role. She is learning how to know, love and serve street-dependent young people so they may come to know Christ! We have openings for the spring and summer!

In the last four and a half weeks of internship with Street Youth Ministry (SYM), I have moved from a “deer-in-the-headlights” phase, to an "trying hard" phase, and to the phase where I am in now: performing a consistent and purposeful role at SYM. Upon coming to the ministry, I found myself as an “ adviser.” When people spoke of their circumstances and problems, I always had something to say. Four weeks later, I am learning to use the great tool of listening and questioning--learning to guide street youth to find their own answers. I no longer feel as if I have to rack my brain for the perfect wisdom, but rather the words that come are more natural, life giving and long lasting.  
I have found strength and confidence in the role of being a guide. It has become such a joy to go to ministry every day knowing I have what it takes to minister to the street youth. The first weeks were “oh so questionable” for me because I felt like I had no experience and no tools to minister with. SYM intern training has been very helpful, and God has shown me that what I need most is the Holy Spirit. God has placed within YOU and me the abilities we need for every circumstance he calls us to. It is He who grows us in the abilities we yet do not yet know we possess. I know two things are true: “The will of God will not take you where the grace of God will not follow”; and “God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”
Ministry, careers, relationships, and all the opportunities that life presents to us are not limited by our abilities. Praise God for that! It is true for the street youth, too. However, they often feel limited because they lose touch with their God-given abilities. They feel limited and trapped by their feelings of uselessness, worthlessness, inability and weakness. We could also say that they are limited by LIES. For, they are absolutely made in the same image of God that you and I are and to say that they have no worth and no abilities is to say that our God is worthless, our God is unable, and our God is limited. We know this is not true. Our God HAS worth, He IS able, and He HAS NO limits. And because of this truth, Street youth also have no limits.
What they need are able vessels of God to guide them to the truth of who they are, to guide them to become knowledgeable of their strengths and abilities. Those vessels are you and I! The street youth, as well as others in our lives who see themselves as worthless and unable, are nothing less than beautiful and beloved. If we have the opportunity to place a mirror in front of them so that they can see their beauty with their own eyes, let us not delay any longer!
Not only do street youth have inherent beauty, worth, and abilities, but they also receive knowledge and resources to overcome the darkness, addictions, consequences of bad choices, and unfortunate circumstances of their lives. They do not need ministers of the Gospel to prescribe for them a list of resources or helpful hints; by the grace of God the resources and knowledge they need is already within them. What they do need, however, are ministers of the Gospel, good neighbors in our community, to act as magnets to point out and encourage such inherent abilities and to place that mirror in front of street youth so that they can see their beauty.  Those ministers are you and I!
Through it all, we pray, that then they will finally “taste and see that the Lord is good” [Psalm 24:8].

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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