This past weekend was very special in addition to what God was accomplishing in our students at MFUGE. It was my 5 year anniversary as youth pastor at Clearwater Baptist Church. In some ways it seems like 5 days and in other ways it seems like 20 years. However I am extremely humbled and thankful that I have the opportunity and privilege to minister to such an amazing group of students. I shared with the students while at MFUGE that Hebrews 13:17 tells us to bring joy to ministers and not grief. I told them that they have definitely brought joy to me and I am extremely thankful.
The church honored me by giving me cards from children and many Sunday School classes. The 7th-8th boys Sunday School class gave me a signed baseball bat. The youth as a whole gave me a journal. I did not think much about it until I got home and looked through it. In this journal has notes of encouragement, Scripture, and notes from the students and adult leaders themselves. As Belinda and I read the notes, one moment we were wiping tears and the next we would be laughing hysterically. I cannot explain how much I love these students! I will always hold on to this journal and will reflect on it often.
The greatest gift was this: we had the opportunity to share about our MFUGE experience in the 2nd worship service on Sunday. I shared myself, as well as Belinda, Laura, Shane, and Phillip. I was extremely overwhelmed by the ways that God has impacted our students and how they are being obedient to His call. To hear the students share these things was the best gift I could ever ask for. I am thankful for all the cards and notes of encouragement, but to hear student testimonies is one of my favorite things ever! Not every student was able to share, but to see the glow on their faces it is obvious how God is at work in them all.
I am thankful for these 5 years. There have been many up's and many down's. I am proud to make it 5 years in youth ministry, but also at the same church. The average tenure for a youth pastor is 2 years at a church, or even in ministry total. This is something that the church needs to help change. I am thankful for the things I have learned and the ways that God has used me during these years. I am excited to see what else God has in store for me in the ministry and in my time at Clearwater.