Every year we celebrate our high school graduating seniors on our Graduation Sunday service. Graduation Sunday this year was also ‘Youth Take Over,’ which means that our youth group was in charge of the whole service. Youth was responsible for it all: service Introduction, worship, transitions, announcements, staying on schedule, and the youth pastor got to preach (about time). From there, we honored eight graduating seniors.
(Graduates left to right: Morgan Permenter, Micheal Broadfield, Ashley Clarke, Tate Rybacki, MaryGrace Eichelberger, Kaelan Johnson, Aaron Elledge and Anna Dunn)
Staying within the sermon series that month, my message was “Surprised by God’s Purpose”. I got inspiration for message from this fantastic video by the very talented and hilarious Michael Jr. *https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytFB8TrkTo
He explained that knowing your “Why?” means you don’t just ask whati, but you also ask why. Ask why to the job, why to the relationship, ito the car, why to two scoops instead of three?. (I personally always choose three, cause three is more than two)
After I finished my message, I received many post‐service compliments and praise from the congregation. However, even after an exceptional service a solemn question began to settle in on my drive home. Did I do enough?
Not in regards to the Sunday takeover or my youth group doing worship (which brought me to tears), but did I do enough for the seniors? Did I do enough as their Pastor to help them continue their growth in their faith?
Anyone who has done research knows that the number of students leaving their faith after high school isn’t pretty. If Christian churches were graded based on how many kids stick with church after they graduate, we would all get a big “F.”
My hope and prayer that as their youth Pastor I showed them how to trust in Jesus as much as I preached to them about it. One of my mentors, who is no longer with us, gave me this piece of advice that I try to remember when fighting inadequacy as a youth Pastor:
“Roger, every year around graduation I’m reminded that I’m only a part of their lives. No matter how big of an impact or how a little impact we make, you’re not their everything. God gave them a family, and my hope is that I showed them just a glimpse of how much God loves them.”
To answer my own question: No, I didn’t do enough because I never could. However, His love for them is and will always be, more than enough.
-Pastor Roger Sims