Four years earlier I had sat in the very same room. Four years earlier I had worshipped there; played there; met God there; contemplated life there.
It ends up that four years is a long time. And returning there brought certain thoughts and memories to the forefront of my mind.
The youth group building is still very much the same, although I will admit that the drumset has been slightly upgraded and the huge-miniature race car track is a new addition. There’s still a handful of students showing up week by week to hang out with friends and to wait for God to do something, which they can expect to happen at such services as yesterday’s.
They’re called WOW services. Or at least they were called WOW services. I think about three years ago the name was changed to Worship XP, but I still heard Pastor Jason say WOW, so I’m pretty sure the nostalgia of it all is still in his head.
We always knew in youth group that when we atteneded one of these WOW services, we were going to experience God; if not in the worship then in some kind of activity. The typical activity was usually opening up the mic to the students to come and say something to the rest of the group. There are a few steps often seen when the mic is turned over to a bunch of shy students:
- The “who’s gonna go first?” awkward silence.
- The brave one who has something to say.
- The others who have something to admit.
- The encouragers who have experience to give.
- The weeping who have been hurt and touched at the same time.
- The closing silence.
It’s always touching and almost always a revolutionary moment in the student’s life. After all, God made the church to be a community, and when you tap into that on brief occasions, it is a powerful thing to be touched by.
The issues students shared from their own lives were that of time usage, apathy, and the pain of change. I felt the pain of all of their struggles. Not just because I had been there before, but because I had admitted and felt the same kind of issues four years earlier in that same room.
More so, I have admitted and felt the same kind issues today. It made me realize, you know what, after four years I haven’t made a whole lot of drastic changes in my life in the ways that I hoped to back then.
And I have a feeling that I’m not the only one.
And so last night, I revisted the memories of that open mic and found many tears and futures attached to it, and I think of all the things in my life now that I’d like to change. Instead of waiting another 4 years to realize that I still have a problem, I’d rather be intentional about fixing myself and do so in the power of God.
The whole power of God thing is still somewhat new to me. Four years ago I thought everything was in my hands. I didn’t realize that God would actually come along side me and give me strength. But those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.