Nikki Myers, 30 Hour Famine Team
This last week the 30 Hour Famine team had the privilege to spend a few days at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Indianapolis, IN. SYMC provided such a genuine place for life and ministry to happen. In hallways, corners and the largest bean bag-type chairs you will ever see, I saw youth workers band together and provide support, insight and an ear to listen. There was laughter, there were tears, and there was a perfect dichotomy of weakness and strength. God’s power was revealed, burdens were shared and people were made stronger.
The theme for the conference was “Stronger: His Strength is My Strength.” The conference booklet opened with this:
This is my time, my chance, this is my weekend.
I serve, I love
I pray with and I pray for my students
But this…this is my time.
I love the relationships,
…the challenge to be focused on Jesus.
This, this is my time…
My time to be encouraged.
To be refreshed.
To be recharged.
This is my time to be stronger.
I had the opportunity to talk with many youth leaders and hear stories of success, growth and redemption. I also heard stories of fear, tiredness and despair. These individuals might have felt weak in these times, but what I heard was strength.
Strength in the volunteer youth pastor who is balancing a full time job, a family and a lack of volunteers.
Strength in the youth intern who isn’t sure how she will make ends meet by interning at her church but has such a passion for investing in young women of God.
Strength in the new youth director who has no church budget, no support and no resources.
I saw strength in the weakness of God’s people. When we talk about weakness it usually has a negative perspective, but there is a divine opportunity in our weakness when we allow the Lord to make us complete. Psalm 73:26 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Jon Acuff, one of the speakers at SYMC and the hilarious author of Stuff Christians Like said in his talk, “I can’t fix me with me.” Isn’t that the truth? Our lives were not created to be lived on our own, but rather with God’s strength.
I am continually amazed in the strength that I see in youth leaders. Thank you for investing in your ministry and in teenagers. Thank you for answering your phone for those 2:00 AM calls, for braving the school cafeteria to welcome the new student, for going hungry for 30 hours so your students can be a part of feeding hungry kids around the world. In those moments were we don’t feel strong enough, the Lord is beside us, our strength in our weakness. What a truth to rest in.