Monday, April 14, 2008

which brings me to...

Heather asked: What inspired you to get into Youth Ministry? There are several things that happened that I attribute to my start in youth ministry. What probably had the biggest influence was Columbine. I was like every other person in the state watching this tragedy unfold. It touched us all. But for me, it also started me wondering and stirred things within my heart.

Most people felt like the boys who carried out such carnage were demons and they and their parents didn't deserve any compassion or understanding. But I couldn't help but wonder what made these boys do such a thing and my heart broke for who they had become.

This was the beginning of the stirrings of my heart for the plight of young people. It continued when my daughter entered 6th grade, a few months later, and I was thrown into a whole different world - so different from elementary school. This world included mean girls and kids doing just about anything to "fit in." I started reading and observing in an effort to understand.

Midway through Danielle's 6th grade year, she decided she didn't want to be a part of the youth group any more. With some problems at school, I wanted her to have a place outside of that world that was a positive and encouraging experience for her. But that wasn't happening. About that time, the Youth Pastor asked for volunteers. I thought this would be a good way to get Danielle to go and to see first hand what was "wrong" with the group and have a chance to change it.

The rest, as they say, is history. I could go on with the story but I think this answers the question. I will say that my perception of teens changed a lot once I got to know them and my understanding of their world grew. I thought I was going to go in to this group and change things appropriately. Well, I didn't change them, they changed me. They opened my eyes as God opened my heart.

which brings me to the next question...

Sharon asked: What are you most passionate about? What is the one thing that you could sit up all night and talk about? That would have to be TEENAGERS! I could sit up all night and talk with teenagers or I could sit and talk about teenagers. Either one would make me happy.

I enjoy talking one on one or in a small group of teens. I enjoy hearing their stories and getting to know them as a person. I enjoy sharing their laughter and their tears.

Their world is so different than what most adults think it is. I could go on and on trying to explain what that world looks like, why they do the things they do, the challenges and stress they constantly endure, and how much they just need love and understanding.

My passion is personally loving them, showing them how much Christ loves them, and encouraging others to love them.

which brings me to the next question...

Ma Kettle (Jen) asked: If you had the world stage with this blog for one post, what would you write about? That would have to be LOVE! I don't know if I could get it all in one post because there's so many aspects that I would want to cover.

I would start with God's love for us. How all encompassing and unconditional it is and even though we don't deserve it, He pours it out to us from a limitless supply. I would then have to say something about how His love can flow through us onto others. My love for teenagers is ALL Him. I would not be able to love them without Him filling my heart first with love for them.

But it's not just teenagers. It's anyone and everyone. God's greatest command is to love Him and his second is to love others. So I would probably include something to the effect of how different the world would be if we all practiced such love.

10 comments:

Momma Roar said...

I *love* that you would use your blog to tell about God's love.

There are so many blogs about political agendas and personal agendas - but YES!!! People need to hear about God's love!

Your passion for teens comes out in these posts and I really enjoy that.

I sure do hope your still blogging when my kiddos become teens. Or, if you're not blogging, that I have your email address then! :)

Just Mom said...

I LOVE TEENS!

Of course I love my little guy, but I also have a soft spot for high schoolers. I grew to really love them when I was a reporter in this small town. I decided it was time the newspaper carried the voices of local young people in addition to the usual figureheads.

Although they face the same issues my peers and I faced when we were in high school, in many ways times are truly different for teens these days. How can a person not love them?

Oh! And contrary to the belief of many adults, the vast majority of teens are good people who have a goal in life -- and are very easy to talk to.

diana said...

amen, just mom... amen!

Pen of Jen said...

Diana! I knew that you would have the *right* answer! I have enjoyed this so much!
Thanks for taking the time and allowing us to put forth our questions to YOU!

MammyT said...

Thanks for more interesting information about yourself. I'm finding that you and I think a lot alike about things. I've always been involved with teens, too, in one way or another. Teaching, youth groups, prevention, music ensembles, etc. I can't think of any other people I'd rather spend my time with. I don't get the opportunity to do it anymore. Times and seasons.
Nancy

Barb said...

I really like your above quote - it's a keeper.

You are so right, Diana, love is what it's all about.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Oh Diana, we'd have some great late night talks. I taught middle school before staying home and those kids are my passion! I worked with high school and college age at church for 5 years and was so passionate about loving them and helping them to see God.

Ever read, "A tribe apart." It was a good read - not a christian author, but a very real in-depth look at the lives this generation leads.

Heather said...

What great inspiration! And you were so close to it.

Can't remember the gal's name now, the Christian gal who was killed at Columbine. Her grandparents lived in the same town where I was living at the time. It was tough, really tough.

Kids need Jesus. That's all there is to it.

Penless Thoughts said...

Hi Diana!! I had a chance to get on a computer and I had to come and catch up on your q&a. Boy this was great!!! Your love and commitment stands out loud & clear.
Susan

SharonB said...

Diana~ After reading this post there is no doubting why your ministry is to teens! Even when I worked with them I did not feel the way you do - at least as passionate as you do - although I did love them.

I am convinced we know we are called my God when we are passionate about this we serve. God has given me that passion for reaching women.

Blessings...