helping hand

A while back, I got an email from the parent of a kid that hadn’t been part of our ministry in years. They just stopped coming. She talked about how influential I had been in their kid’s life and that he was hurting and in need of some care. All sorts of thoughts and feelings went through my mind.
Thoughts like
  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t know him anymore
  • I don’t know what help I can be
Feelings like
  • Resentment: Oh, sure after ditching me/us you come back when you need me!
  • Overwhelmed: I’ve got enough people who are here every week that I need to give time to, why should I or how can I give time to you?
  • Empathy: Oh no, I feel sad about what they’re going through
  • Affirmed: Wow, I didn’t realize I meant that much to you. But of course, I wouldn’t have known it ‘cuz you stopped coming.
But then I was reminded of Luke 15 and the loving Father’s reaction to the return of the prodigal son. And I was reminded of the difference between his reaction and that of the faithful brother. Who should I be more like––the faithful brother who resented the return of the son or the loving Father who celebrated the return of his beloved child?
Being in ministry, whether it’s as a pastor, a director, or a small group leader, is full of moments when we must choose between resentment and empathy, frustration and celebration, feeling overwhelmed and saying faithful to our calling. This is hard work and its difficult choices.


What to do:
  1. Look for opportunities to stay in touch with the kids who are fading away or have already faded from your group.
    1. Send them a postcard
    2. Send them a text message
  2. Look for opportunities to stay in touch with their parents.
  3. Keep them on your minds and pray for them so that you might be ready when the day comes for their return.

Take heart and stay faithful to your calling to be the hands and feet of Christ in the broken and messy lives of your kids. And, continue to be there now, so you can be there when they need you.

photo credit: 45/365 via photopin (license)

Author: Jim Murphy

Associate Pastor | NextGen Ministries Covenant Church, Bemidji, MN

One Reply to “There When They Need You”

  1. Thanks Jim. A most encouraging post for me right now :). Thank you God for using Jim!

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