Dear Young Life Leader,

You’ll do a lot. You’ll listen and pray and drive and coach all so that teenagers might know that God loves them where they’re at. Don’t forget that God loves you where you’re at, too.

Jesus spoke purpose over his disciples when he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:18 ESV).

We know it, we quote it, we call it our purpose, too. Let’s not forget how he ended the sentence:

“[…] I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus, Immanuel, God with us! He loves you where you’re at and he’s right there with you. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can listen and pray and drive and coach all on your own. Kids might think you’re fun and cool, but that is not your mission. That’s standing in ankle-deep water when you were called to experience the depth of the deep end.

Leading will get good when you remember that the kingdom built on Love and Joy and Invitation is your inheritance. When you listen to what the Prince of Peace says because you know his words are for you, too. It will be easy for you to view your Bible as a tool you use to teach teenagers. Please don’t forget it’s much more than that. It’s the written story of a living God who became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood (John 1:14, MSG). It’s a story spanning for years you can’t even put numbers to and you’re invited into it.

So, before you run up on stage tonight to meet your new team, sit with Jesus. Remember why you even signed up to run this race. It’s all because of him, isn’t it?

I hope your mission spans farther and wider and deeper than summer camps and successful ministry stats. I hope your mission is to love God (to know God!) and love others.

Every kid, everywhere. Even you.