The other evening I took my kids to our Church for an evening activity. One of the volunteers walked across the room to grab me…he was dying to tell me a story.

The volunteer had led a group through three long middle school years but since his “Tour of Duty” ended the year before, I had not seen him for a while. He sheepishly explained to me that he was taking a year off and I quickly put his mind at ease telling him it is never a bad idea to take a mental break and refuel before signing up for another “Tour.”

And then he started. He started telling me the sort of story that I love to hear from student leaders…the kind of story I never get tired of.

He took me back to the first year and a half of his group. He explained that he had a boy in the group that was the “biggest trouble maker” in our ministry. I agreed…I knew exactly who he was talking about.

He told me that there were several Sundays during those early years in which he would sit in the room after the boys left, put his head in his hands and ask himself, “What the %?!! am I doing here?” I laughed to myself because he felt the freedom to say that to a “pastor” surrounded by little kids. But then again, I think that might be the sort of situation curse words were designed for!

He went on to tell me about the breakthrough moment half way through the boys’ seventh grade year. We were doing the classic youth group activity of cardboard testimonies. On one side of this board the student had written “abandoned by my father!” and on the other side it read “Fathered by God!”

The small group leader telling me this story was a rock at this point. I however had started to break.

The next part was the part he got stuck on. He didn’t even get close to finishing his sentence. We were both a wreck at this point. Fast forward to the 8th grade end of the year party. The leader was on his way from the dock to the house to get some ice when he noticed this boy was walking with him. He clearly had something to say. This is what he said.

“Before I go on to high school, I just wanted to tell you that…I feel that you are like a father to me….Thank you.”

Now Pause…

As an SGL you need to take this moment in.

Notice the journey of the SGL in this story. It was not easy.
Notice the time it took. It did not happen over night.

Notice the situation of this kid. I bet he is a lot like one of your “few”.

Notice the magnitude of this kid’s statement! When it comes to a young man’s development (or lack there of) it doesn’t get much bigger than that!

What you’re doing matters. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. Even when you don’t know what the %?!! you are doing there. Don’t give up. Keep SHOWING UP!

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Tom Shefchunas

Tom is the North Point Ministries Multi-Campus Director of Transit (Middle School). Tom’s passion involves working with campus directors and their teams, as well as recruiting and developing the hundreds of volunteer small group leaders it takes to pull off Transit at the five churches of North Point Ministries. He is the co-founder of Uthmin.net, a place for middle school ministers to gather. Tom also co-wrote Lead Small with Reggie Joiner, a resource for children and student small group leaders. Tom and his wife Julie live in Cumming, Georgia, with their three children, Mac, Joey and Cooper.

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