Last night in youth group our new student-led Praise Band played for their first time.  A freshman, 2 juniors, and a senior had recently connected with each other and have been making time to get together in order to practice the past couple of weeks.  Then last night it all came together when they played in youth group.  I’m very proud of these 4 students who were willing to use their musical gifts to lead both the students and adults at youth group in a time of praising God through song…it is awesome to see and be a part of.

Last night in youth group there were a few students who were goofing off, joking around, and just being a little disrespectful and disruptive while the student-led Praise Band was playing.  I honestly don’t think they were intentionally trying to actually be disrespectful or disruptive, they just weren’t taking this time seriously and instead were just goofing around, which ended up being disruptive to those around them and was seen by some as disrespectful to those who were leading.

On my drive home from youth group I received a call from one of the adult leaders, who was very bothered by how these students were being disrespectful and disruptive while the student-led Praise Band was playing.  I shared with this adult leader that I totally understand how they feel.  However, I also reminded them that we can’t let a few students goofing off be what we focus on from youth group that night.  The fact is, 4 students stepped up and led their peers in singing praises to God, and the vast majority of the students were engaged in the singing these praise songs.  That is something to be very excited about, and that is what we need to focus on.

God is doing some really cool things in our Student Ministry right now, and it is evident in the lives of many of the students.  I have students who have started Bible Studies with other students outside of our organized meeting times; students who have been willing to teach a lesson, share a testimony, or lead the small group discussion time in youth group; students who are willing to get up in front of a large group of people to use their musical gifts to serve God; students wanting me to help them read and study God’s Word more; and even students who are beginning to open up and share more in their small group discussion times.  That is what we need to focus on…on what God is doing in the lives of students and how students are living for God and growing in their faith.

In ministry, there will always be those who would rather goof off than be serious or focus on spiritual things.  And, while it can easily get discouraging, I have to be honest with myself and remember back to a time when I was not overly serious about my faith or goofed off when I shouldn’t have.  We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, so I need to make sure to remember that and show grace to those who are currently at that place in their life.

I am glad these students come to youth group, and I want them to continue to come.  Even if they continue to goof off in youth group, the good thing I can take from that is that they are coming to youth group and are hearing the messages being shared to some degree.  I know that God can use something in youth group that is said or done to get their attention and draw them to himself.  Honestly, that is my prayer for every student who attends, whether they are disruptive or not.

The truth is, in ministry, we have to take the good with the bad.  We just have to make sure that we focus is on the good and not the bad.  Rather, we just need to work to see what seems to be bad as more opportunities for ministry to happen and for God to work in people’s lives.  When I see these students who are goofing off and being disruptive, I see a student who God loves and who has the potential to use the talents God has given them to serve him.  So I will continue to pray for them and welcome them to youth group like I do any other student.

And by the way, this is not just true of Student Ministry.  All levels of ministry deal with the same thing, and in all levels of ministry we must focus on the good and see what seems to be bad as more opportunities for ministry and for God to work in people’s lives.