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Let’s Celebrate!

30 Dec Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on Let’s Celebrate!
Let’s Celebrate!

A friend of mine recently ran 50 miles, in one day, just for fun. That’s not my kind of fun! I’ll never run that far at one time. You know why? …because that’s too long to wait for an ice cream cone to celebrate an achievement.

Our students love to party. Face it, even we adults like to celebrate. We have parties for graduations, anniversaries, and birthdays. I have a friend who celebrates his child’s birthday- every month! That’s one lucky kid. Bring on the balloons, cake and cheese dip!

A Season of Change and Growth

After 29 years in our youth center, our ministry was anticipating moving to a location closer to the kids we served. We knew that being in their neighborhood would be beneficial to them. It meant they would be able to walk to us anytime they wanted to. No longer would they be dependent on our once-a-week transportation.

As we tried to anticipate the changes that we thought would come, we realized there was only so much we could prepare for. We could try to guess what the outcome would be but we truly wouldn’t know until it happened. We concluded that we would simply have to manage the changes as they came. We expected that more students would come to our ministry, and because we would be in their neighborhood, we expected that we would see those students more often. We speculated that anytime students knew we were in the building, they would be knocking on the doors wanting to come in.

Moving day came and we’ve now been in the new location 6 months. Sure enough it’s been a game changer. Just as we had prayed for and envisioned, many students are coming. We’re seeing new students and were seeing many of them three or four times a week instead of just once. First through 12th graders are stopping by every day. On school days several students have stopped for breakfast at 5:45 a.m. a full hour before we open!

Remembering to Celebrate

In a recent staff meeting we were discussing solutions to effectively minister to a rapidly growing number of students. At that moment it dawned on us, God had answered five years’ worth of our prayers. It was all playing out as we had imagined and hoped for. Being swamped by students was a problem, but it was a good problem!

That was the moment we stopped to celebrate what God was doing.

We didn’t have balloons, or cake, or even cheese dip but we did celebrate! With hearts filled with gratitude we thanked God for what he was doing on our behalf. I’ll never forget that moment. Because when we stopped to celebrate, it gave us renewed energy, determination, and joy to eagerly face our challenges.


Finding Reasons to Celebrate

When’s the last time your ministry team celebrated what God was doing? Perhaps a better question is, “What is worthy for you to celebrate?” When’s the last time half of your students fell to their knees as revival swept over them? If you’re like most of us, probably never. But, what about the steps you see students taking on their spiritual journey? Perhaps your student are taking small steps like one of these:

  •             Praying out loud for the first time
  •             Asking a faith question
  •             Participating in a group discussion
  •             Showing interest in your bible lesson
  •             Entering into the worship time
  •             Not having their typical bad attitude
  •             Helping without being asked

Our students are on their young journeys of faith. Granted, many of them they’re taking baby steps. As parents, when our children take their first steps we clap, laugh and celebrate. Our spiritual children should be no different. Today, look for a baby step to celebrate. Life and ministry are more enjoyable when we celebrate what God is doing. If you’re having cheese dip, call me!


Jerry Higley
Executive Director at Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ
Jerry Higley is the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ and an adjunct faculty member at LBC teaching Student Ministry courses at both the undergrad and graduate level. When he's not at work, he loves spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with his grandkids.