Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (Galatians 6:4-5 MSG)
Jeff Locke is the youth pastor in Church in the Hills in Calgary. He's such a good dude. I had the privilege of serving alongside Jeff for a number of years (albeit in a different church).
Church in the Hills is a portable church. They have no building, no office space, and definitely no room just for students. These are things that - for many youth pastors - are the basics (even necessities) to make ministry happen. As someone who had these things in measure while serving as a youth pastor, I can tell you that physical space to call your own is an incredible blessing to be leveraged for ministry.
"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that..."
Jeff's heart is loud and clear. He's about seeing students come fully alive in Jesus Christ. He's knows who he is and has 'sunk' himself completely into his Heavenly Father's business.
"Don’t compare yourself with others..."
How easy and deadly it is to fall into the comparison trap as youth pastors. We compare skill sets/budgets/# of students/and of course...physical space. It's crushing. I don't know if Jeff has ever fallen into this. Probably. We all have. But he's onto something. God is less interested in what you have, and more interested in what you do with what you have (Matthew 25).
So Jeff is working what he's got. And he's working it well.
"Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life..."
I love the phrasing..."creative best". For church's with low budgets or lack of physical space "creative best" is often translated "make something happen out of nothing".
So here's a story of Jeff's creative best.
Jeff rented out a local Jr. High to start a dodgeball league. The goal was simple: leverage dodgeball to connect the Gospel with teenagers who they otherwise wouldn't have access to.
They launched earlier this Fall. 6 students showed up to the first night. Since then, 120 unique teenagers have participated in their league and an average of 65 teenagers attend weekly. 120 lives they wouldn't have access to if Jeff and his team didn't do their creative best.
Your creative best might look differently than Jeff's. I hope it does. You are unique, your church is unique, and the students you serve are unique. How can you do your creative best to reach teenagers with the Gospel. When you answer that, sink yourself into it.
By the way, 4 students made a decision to surrender their lives to Jesus last Friday. :)