1 kings 19 for youth workers

And the word of the LORD came to him (or her): “What are you doing here, Youth Worker?”

Youth Worker replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The teenagers (or the people of this church, or the staff of this church) have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind*.

*wind =
the diminishing comment from a board member
the absurdist rules about facility usage and how they leave you feeling like you work for the custodian and kitchen police
the wearying conversation with your pastor about getting your numbers up
the snide comparisons with the last youth worker
the passive-aggressive threat from that angry parent because you can’t seem to “fix” her child

After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake*.

*earthquake =
the freakin’ sports teams that seem to schedule their games when you’ve made youth group plans
the volunteer who quit in a flurry because you wouldn’t make the changes he wanted
the three girls who stopped attending, though you cannot figure out why
the big church down the street that seems to actively recruit kids from your group
the budget slashing that dashed your plans to attend an event that would nurture your soul

After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire*.

*fire =
the clash between your sense of calling and your empty bank account
the inner monologue that constantly tells you you’re not doing enough
the tension between honoring your day off and the never-ending needs of the teenagers you love
the cell phone that won’t stop buzzing; the facebook page that always has new messages
the temptation to limit your identity to your role

And after the fire came a gentle whisper*. When Youth Worker heard it, Youth Worker pulled the cloak over her (or his) face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to Youth Worker, “What are you doing here?”

*gentle whisper =
the LORD, whispering to you,
calling you,
connecting with you,
knowing you, by name

do you hear the whisper?
and, what’s your answer to the question?

27 thoughts on “1 kings 19 for youth workers”

  1. and then there were the youth workers who made it through the wind and the earthquake but crumbled in the face of the fire. it’s a sad thing when the toughest part of the job is not the job but the senior pastor.

  2. Of course Elijah came into this passage saying/thinking I am alone… nobody is faithful standing up for this ministry…. and at the end God reveals to him many many other faithful ones….
    Lets encourage fellow youth workers, guys….
    We experience so much of the same poop, and the same joys, and for some reason we feel called so we stick with it…..

  3. God is so awesome. Thank you for posting this…I feel like every time I get these feelings a article or blog or note appears in my inbox reminding me I’m not in this alone.

  4. Marko—I think we’re eating the same cereal these days. Did you see my interpretation of the Shakira lyrics? Hardly 1 Kings material, but similar in thought. Would it be ok to say that we shall break wind in Jesus’ name? Thanks for the lift.

  5. “Selah.”… As I pick myself up off the floor from laughing my butt off at the sad fact that I’m ‘living La Vida under staffed and under payed loca’.

  6. friend just sent me the link to this. this is EXACTLY where i have been living and it has really begun to wear on me. thanks be for a God that provides the little “whispers” to assure us that he really does have things under control and that above all the perceived challenges is a God that just loves our freakin’ guts out!!. thanks for being his vessel to get this message to me!! praying that he lets me hang out a while here and just revel in hearing the sacred echo of “i love you”.

  7. We continue to be here because maybe, just maybe, every now and then, we get a young person who comes to us in tears, and explains what a positive difference we’ve made in their lives…or a parent who comes to us, also in tears, FIFTEEN YEARS LATER and explains what a positive influence we were in the life of their child,who is now an adult….and we cry with them, because we realize that it is not how much we mean to them, but how much every single one of them has meant to us. We couldn’t imagine our life without them. We cry tears of sorrow that we know that there are some who may always be lost, but more than that, we cry tears of joy for the fruit that we do see, and that we know we are doing the work God has placed before us. We cry because we HOPE AND PRAY that someone will have a fraction of that kind of impact on our own children, because we fear that we won’t get through to them. We reach for the prize, and keep on to fight the good fight, so that we may please the one who made us. Not because we wish favor, but because we love Him more than anything else, and don’t want anyone to be separated from Him. We’re here not to get numbers saved, but to bring heaven to earth, to give hope to the hopeless, to give love to the unloved.

  8. THANK YOU for that. it’s one of my favorite passages and this totally bumped it up more. I really needed this today. thank you.

  9. Have you been looking in on what’s been going on here? Thank you for this, these little snippets are brilliant and a boost.

  10. Awesome! Really could have used that a few weeks ago, but uplifting none the less. Had to LOL at the “freakin’ sports teams that schedule games when youve planned youth events”

  11. This was an awesome one, as are the others I have read in this series so far. I sometimes feel that all the other youth ministers do all the great work, and I struggle with week-to-week stuff, with having my responsibility questioned, etc. etc. It is one thing to have someone question something when you know they are far, far from the truth, but when you think they may be right, that you may have messed up, that the “winds” never stop blowing from all directions… It has been great for me hear that others struggle, and to see others hear God. Maybe I am starting to hear God for me, again, not just for others.

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