Thursday, October 13, 2011

I was told, "Those kids are not worth your time." I responed, "thbbbbbb"

If you have ever seen the movie, “Chariots of Fire” then you will remember the powerful line made by the Olympic Runner Eric Liddell struggling with his decision to take part in a competition being held on a Sunday, which was taboo in the Christian circles of his day.  The quote goes like this:

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.

As a youth worker I have seen the ugly side of what life is like for young people.  I have met with kids that have been a part of murders, violence, gang activity, drug deals, rape, sexual exploitation and substance abuse to name a few.

More than once I’ve asked myself.  What am I going to do about this?  Of course I never really know the answer to that question.  Of course I contact the police, counselors, social workers and the like to barrage these teens with “help.” But I am still left wondering… what am I going to do about this?

I decided to start a student leadership team for kids like this.  I figured they needed some empowerment in their lives.  As I discussed this idea with other youth workers, teachers, and social workers it was constantly shot down.  The primary advice was that it would be a waste of my time.  I remember being told, you need to start a leadership team made up of kids that are already leaders.

I am the type of person that doesn’t really care being told by others how I should spend my time.  I also felt like this was a bit of a challenge.  I wondered why kids that were already high achievers needed people to tell them that they could be high achievers.  Talk about a waste of time.

I started the team and it has been messy.  My “leaders” often caused me more problems than the demographic we were reaching out to.  It wasn’t uncommon for them to disappear from the ministry site and come back high and it wasn’t surprising that they had problems with the police.

I just kept thinking of the leadership team Jesus created and I realized that most youth workers, teachers or social workers, would chose the team Jesus did.  I admire that he saw more of what they could be than what they were at the time.  With that inspiration, I keep working with kids that are “not worth my time”.  We address problem, but more often address inspiration as I try to help them feel God’s pleasure in something they do.