The After Hours of Youth Ministry
By far, some of my favorite moments from working in Student Ministry have come from spontaneous times. And so many of those times have come during the 'after hours'.)
Typically, when we have our usual gatherings, we meet on Sunday and Wednesday nights from 6-8PM. I always expected that it was during that specific time frame that most of our kids would grow. They definitely have, but those 30 minutes to an hour afterwards that are really where some powerful times of fun, connection and growth tends to happen.
Every Sunday or Wednesday as I walk out (what I assume to be) our last students I tend to come back into the room with a handful of others standing or sitting together. Sometimes they are crazy and cutting up, other times they are playing a goofy game, and then there's the times I love most where they are having serious conversations.
The conversations can contain anything from their faith, to their questions about it, to their growth into it, to just speaking words of encouragement to each other. The games can be anything from ninja to other weird games I've never heard of before. The cutting up and having a good time can range from having a dance party to silly music to making fun of the fact that one of our students still thinks he can move openly and freely even though he has a torn ACL.
It's that unscheduled time in growth & connection that can only happen by the Grace of God. This group of young people, after dealing with each other the whole night, through hanging out and worship and small groups still want more of each other's presence. And in the process, they seem to want more of God's as well.
And it's becoming apparent in their hearts and actions as well.
May we all have this attitude in a world that is always moving on to the next thing.
May we linger.
May we hang around.
And may we be those who long to grow closer to each other and Christ.