In September 2019, I began one of the most challenging tasks that I have been given since starting full time ministry in 2015. After three years of being the High School Associate at Woodridge and then a year of being the Operations Associate, our pastor, Jeremy Evans, asked me if I wanted to take on the challenge of starting up a new Young Adult Ministry. I jumped at the chance, because as a young adult in the area I knew it was a needed ministry because there is not much out here for people at this stage of life.
The one thing that didn’t really click in my head for a while was the challenge that I had just accepted. Starting a ministry from virtually nothing is no easy task, and I have learned that more and more every day since last September.
When I first started in ministry, I entered into an already well-developed student program that had great students, awesome volunteers, and incredible staff. So, starting a ministry from nothing was a new challenge that (if we are being honest) still terrifies me to this day. If you know anything about me or the enneagram (it’s a personality test), I am a 2w3, which identifies me as someone who loves to help people and wants to be the best. That means I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to making sure that the Young Adults of Kingwood, Texas, have a place where they can grow in community and grow to know Christ more.
There are a few things I have learned about starting a ministry from scratch and some other things that the Lord has been showing me over the last six months as I (with the help from a lot of other people) have been building up the YAMs (Young Adult Ministry) at Woodridge:
- Make sure you have a killer support system. Luckily for me that was probably the easiest thing for me to come by. I have bosses who see value in reaching the young adults of Kingwood and the surrounding area, I have friends who are young adults who support me by showing up and participating in the different events that we have, and I have a church body who also finds value in reaching the young adults and encourage me every time they see that we are up to something. I think there is something to be said about having a group of people who support and encourage you. We can look at the example of Jesus in scripture, he surrounded himself with 12 guys, who might not have always been the most encouraging, but we definitely see the value and example that He sets for us in regard to having a community around us.
- Try to stay focused on the task at hand. This has been a struggle for me at times. I like to dream sometimes, although I’m not always good at it. I like to think about what the Lord could do through this ministry I have been entrusted with. I like to think about how it can grow, how it can have an impact on the world, how maybe someday Grace (I’ll tell you more about her later, but for now, she is my right hand woman in building this ministry) and I are going to write books and talk at conferences about Young Adult Ministries and help the Church (Big “C” church, as in the global body of believers) understand the impact that this group can have on the Kingdom. Sometimes I get so caught up in these dreams I forget there is a group of YAMs (I use this word interchangeably for the ministry and the people of the ministry, so keep up!) that the Lord has placed right in front of me to minister to and to shepherd. What a great task he has blessed me with. I get frustrated at myself when I take a step back and realize that although I am dreaming, and this isn’t a bad thing, I am also being a little disobedient in what the Lord has asked me to do. It is not bad to dream and wonder “what is God’s will for this ministry,” but it is also important to keep focused and not let the people in front of you get lost in all your plans. I spent some time this year going through the book “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan (if you haven’t read it, I would recommend it), but this point is one of the big things I took away from the book. Chan talked about how we need to forget God’s will for our life, and instead focus on what it is the Holy Spirit is calling us to do in this moment. This is something I struggle with personally and in regards to running a ministry. That is something that I want to change!
- Know your strengths and know your weaknesses and get yourself a wing-person (it’s 2020, I can’t say “wingman” here) to help you and encourage you and pick up the slack where you fall short. Lucky for me, I convinced my friend Grace Dawson to do that. I don’t think she knew what she was getting herself into when she agreed to help me, but I can tell you this, she has put up with a lot (and mostly it’s me that she has to put up with.) I recognized early on I would not be able to manage this new calling on my own with my other responsibilities at work, so I recruited the help of Grace. If you see our social media and laugh at any of the captions or enjoy how awesome our monthly calendars are, thank Grace. If I were the one doing it, you and I would both be very sad every time we looked at what was put out there for the YAMs. In fact, we were just tasked with taking a spiritual gifts test at work to see what our staff has been gifted with, and lo and behold, Grace’s talents and mine are not the same. For that I am grateful, because we both can help where the other person is lacking. It is also nice to have someone who has a different viewpoint from your own on things. I recognized really quickly that I am not always right (I know, it’s a shocker) and my ideas aren’t always the most fun (well…this one is debatable) so it is nice to bring in another perspective. I know this point might be able to be summed up under point one, but Grace is a vital part of this ministry, so she deserved a shout out and a point all her own!
This is just a brief summary of how I see my journey in the process of starting up this ministry. For me, it has been a learning process and I wanted to share that with those around me. I would love for you to take time to have coffee with me so I can share more about what I have learned and how God is moving though the YAMs here at Woodridge. If you aren’t a young adult, we would love your help in serving the YAMs and—Hey, if you are in the area and consider yourself a young adult, we would love for you to get plugged in. I’m excited to continue on this journey of personal growth for me—and growth for the YAMs here at Woodridge. I hope that you can be a part of it!
Young Adult Minister | Operations Associate