Remember who you ARE and who you WERE



By Luke Lang

Youth ministry is hard.
I’ve been doing it for thirty years and it really hasn’t gotten any easier.
(encouraging, huh?)
There are still times that I just stink.
There are days when I feel like a complete failure.
There are Wednesday nights when I just want to drop the mic, walk away and get a “real” job.
True story, bro.

But I move on, I don’t give up.
Here’s the secret to showing up when you don’t want to…
I’m only really able to keep going because…I REMEMBER.
I think that a good memory is an essential survival skill if you are working with students.
Youth ministry is hard. (If it were easy, your senior pastor would be doing it.)
But, we have a powerful completely free resource at our disposal (in addition to the Holy Spirit).
It is our memory.

Remember who you ARE and who you WERE.
Remember who you ARE!
You ARE a completely loved, ridiculously unique child-friend of God.
That isn’t up for discussion or congregational vote.
Nothing or nobody can change that.
It doesn’t depend on your performance.
That is who you ARE.

There will be long days when you have to remember that over and over.
There will be testing days when who you ARE is under assault.
When people try to define you by what you DO, Remember who you ARE!
When it seems like you are giving everything and nothing is happening,
Remember who you ARE!
After a meeting with a supervisor where you are told that you need to get your “numbers” up, Remember who you ARE!
When a homeschool parent questions your faith because you said the word fart in a message, Remember who you ARE!
When you start to compare yourself to another leader who has obvious skills and success,
Remember who you ARE!
When your students do something stupid and selfish and you have to pick up the pieces,
Remember who you ARE!
When your world is rocked by the hurt of living on a broken planet,
Remember who you ARE!

AND, Remember who you WERE.
Look at your students and remember.
What were you like when you were their age?
Remember being thirteen? Sixteen?
What were your dreams, hopes, fears, doubts, insecurities?
What made your heart pound and your palms sweat?
What made you laugh out loud?
Remember who you WERE!
Remember all the confusion, doubt, anger, joy and excitement.
Remember who you WERE!
Remember the pain and the promise.
Remember when you knew everything.
Remember who you WERE!
Remember how far you have come.
Then look at your students who are acting like…well…students!
They are pushing you to the limit.
They can be such punks, all the while their parents are convinced they are perfect.
Frustrating, right?
Remember who you WERE!
Chances are that you were once a total punk too. You did stupid and selfish things.
Somebody probably over looked all that and loved you anyway.
Remember who you WERE!
You will eventually encounter a student who IS who you WERE.
That isn’t an accident.
It’s a setup by the God who is crazy about both of you.
In order to really help who they ARE you will have to remember who you WERE.
We don’t want to live in the past, but sometimes a honest memory is the key to making a difference in the now.

Youth ministry is hard, there are going to be rough days.
But, you can make it.
Your memory is a powerful superpower to get you through the hard times.
Your memory is magic.
Take some time and remember.
Remember who you ARE.
Remember who you WERE.