Every single Sunday I always see some of the Youth kids and I wonder how many of them will become de-churched by the time they are seniors. I wonder how many of them will be hurt by Bethel and never come back. Bethel Generations has always put a heavy burden on my heart that the workers are indeed few and the harvest is plentiful. I feel like every time that I attempt to minister to the Youth, whether through teaching or becoming a mentor, I feel so exposed to the insecurities and shortcomings in my life. I stop and give up. I don’t like Bethel Generations because it exposes that resentment so much clearer. You can see me actively avoiding conversations on Sundays because I have been so used to the habit of falling into that “self-care” and the “my baggage, not yours” mentality. The phrase replays over and over in my mind: “If I don’t pray almost at all by myself, why should I ask about your prayer requests or give you my prayer requests?” Add a hundred more loud and excitable youth kids and I immediately grab my bass right after Omega service ends and disappear. They’re annoying. They remind me of me when I was loud and excitable and annoying.
But then, I greet my students who have become seniors and see the progress that God is making in their lives. They tell me that they look up to me and I continue to wonder why. Then I remember when I looked up to my Bible Study teachers and praise team leaders and hoped that one day, I could at least reflect a fraction of their love, their joy, their peace, their patience, their kindness, their goodness, their faithfulness, their gentleness, and their self-control. I didn’t worship them, nor did I believe that they were perfect. A lot of my teachers messed up in bad ways. But God still used them to impact my life. I feel both awkward and excited when I see the congregation altogether. I get to worship with both my former students and my mentors. I want to be the same impact that some of the older generation in our congregation today have been to me. I don’t like Generations because I feel like it exposes every inch of my heart. But I believe in Bethel Generations because when I expose who I am to those around me and those around me do the same, I see the impact that God is having within our community. All it takes is for me to take the first step and talk to them. God will do the rest. In the spirit of the renowned writer and mentor Paul himself: THEREFORE, brothers and sisters let us take heart and take a leap of faith together to become a Christ-centered community through Bethel Generations.