About a year ago I was in Burlington, VT, with nothing to do for a few hours between meetings. I decided to drive to all the local high schools and pray for the kids, the community, the faculty, parents and coaches. Its a small thing. I’m not the first Young Life staff person to do that in the area, and I know there are hundreds if not thousands of people in those communities praying for young people. One specific thing I prayed for was for the Young Life leaders who would someday walk on to each of those campuses to build relationships with teenagers. I pictured them stopping by to pick a kid up after school, showing up to see a game, or to watch a concert. I asked Jesus to provide leaders to do this work, and to open doors for us to start ministry in those communities. One prayer prayed while driving on frigid day in January. A small thing.
Another small thing happened recently. Last Friday, a small group of Young Life leaders showed up at high school hockey game in Burlington. Our team has been working on building the proper foundation to start ministry in Burlington, and after a lot of work and prayer, it was time to start contact work. Contact work is just a fancy name for “showing up.” The main job of a Young Life leader is to show up in the lives of kids and build friendships. The model for this is Jesus himself, who showed up in our world and spent time with people, and who also equipped and commissioned his disciples to do the same.
“Showing up” sometimes looks and feels like a small thing. Hopefully soon, bigger things will happen in kids’ lives in Burlington and Chittenden county. We are planning to take kids to camp this summer, and start weekly meetings with kids. Perhaps sometime soon our leaders will know dozens of kids, and through their friendship, make lasting impacts in their lives. Perhaps kids who didn’t know Christ before will come to follow him and grow in their faith. These would be big things. But in my experience, big things start small. And the small things have begun.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. –John 1:14 (ESV)