One of the greatest up/downs I have in doing student ministry is that I only spend but a short time with those that I work with. I've often used a college basketball analogy to define youth ministry, because every four years I have a completely different team. Their strengths & weaknesses, their cliques, and their passions can be completely different, and the challenge of trying to contextualize the gospel for each becomes quite a challenge. This makes it hard, if not impossible, for us to compare classes, or even seasons of the X to other ones. Thus, in hindsight, I tend to have favorite series, events, or one-off nights or messages, as opposed to entire years.
Sadley, this happens with adults we grow close to as we minister alongside one another. We said goodbye to another set of teammates tonight, and some very dear friends, whom the Lord is undoubtedly leading the land of Florida, where america goes to die. This part is frankly exciting, as we've been alongside these friends through all the circumstances that have lead up to this night, and we know what an exciting step this is for them. WIth the wonders of social networking, I'll be able to talk trash about the yankees as readily as I have for these past few years. Plus, I now have a free couch to crash on in Florida, and an aged dog to cuddle with when I do. The downside is that you can never replace these members of your team. There will never been another Jeff & Dana. There are other great adult leaders, and there will be other great sponsors who will step up in their abesnce, as the Lord leads. Such has been the casey for eight years at NCC, and I don't expect that will change in the near future.
While these goodbyes, and others like it, have sometimes been painful to me, our students, or to the logistics of our minsitry, I'm grateful to see how God has used this little town of Danville to raise up a harvest of leaders for places such as Florida, and for places like TN, Ohio, and even for places as far reaching as Cambodia, Zimbabwe, and Northern Ireland.
So, farewell, oh Stanley Houser..and may we walk on the beach together soon.
Some final thoughts about the fam:
1. Reese is crawling now, but she has no teeth. What's the point of being able to run around if there's no good food to eat when you get there?
2. Emery believes that seeing the trailer to "The Princess and the frog" means that she has seen the movie. I don't think I want to correct her, for this ignorance will spare me the cost of two movie tickets.
3. Amber and I had a great visit to KY visiting the Ulrich/Bankemper clan for Thanksgiving. it was a great getaway.
4. I am soooo looking forward to a few vacation days coming up during the next few weeks. Some extended sabbath is going to do me very well.