Looking back can be dangerous. If you look backward while driving forward, you’ll crash your car. If you look back at your burning city when God specifically asked you not to, you’ll turn into a pillar of salt. Okay, that was just one time, but still. It happened.
While looking back can diminish our effectiveness now and in the future, there’s value in a healthy amount of reflection and processing of the past. It can bring closure, resolve, and tools for how to handle future ministry. And if there were ever a year to process, it would be this one.
Here are three lessons we learned from 2021, and hope that you can learn, too:
Face-to-face community matters.
Another year of COVID-19 helped us realize the true value of being face-to-face with our students. Thank goodness for technology that allowed us to connect even when our church doors were closed, but if we’re being honest, something lacks when we’re across a screen rather than across a table. Watching Jesus turn water into wine would be crazy to see over Instagram Live, but imagine if you were standing right next to Him when it happened. There is power in proximity in this digital age.
The Bible is important.
That’s a pretty obvious one – I know. I do not want to overstate, but this year has been extremely divisive, with multiple social issues all coming up for their turn to bat at once. Everywhere you look, there’s an opinion, an argument, or an opinionated argument about something that no one will ever fully agree on. In this cancel culture, it’s critical to remain grounded in Scripture.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever”
Do not lose sight of the Word of God. Remain committed to being in the Word and in prayer on a regular basis. Challenge and equip your students and adult leaders to do the same.
God is still moving.
It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of the internet and the frustrations of socially-distanced student ministry. Our world has changed in the last two years and it’s natural to be confused, upset, or overwhelmed. Remember this: God is not overwhelmed. He is not surprised and He has not stopped working. He is with you when you log onto Zoom for the 18th week in a row and only 2 students show up. He is there when parents have opposing views on masks at youth group and you’re just trying to make the best decision for everyone involved. He is there when you drive away from the church after another exhausting night and you swear you’ll never do it again.
We are praying for you. If there’s anything we can pray about specifically, let us know!