It was an innocent question.

Do you ever feel like you’ll move on from teenagers completely?

The question inferred that I had moved on from them partially.

What about my situation said that?

They were guessing that since I had stopped working at a church that my commitment or focus had changed. I could see how my life had become synonymous with youth ministry and that a departure from tradition could have communicated a change in that reality. But doesn’t youth ministry exist outside of a paycheck and a formal job description? I have always thought so.

The truth is, I will never move on from kids and teenagers.

And even though I don’t get paid by a local church to care about teenagers, I will always care about them.

Even though I am not directing a program in a local church. I am the Church.

Kids and teenagers are the Church.

I’ll forever care.

I feel like kids and teenagers embrace weird and broken, happy and free so easily.

I see their imaginations running wild with the love of God.

I see their hearts breaking and needing someone to sit in their messes with them and say, “I don’t know what you should do, but I like you and care for you and am cheering for you.” This life is to help them shake the dust. This life is to help us see ourselves, our lives, wrapped in their lives. Our today is for their tomorrow. Artist Hannah Joiner Crosby said it well and I agree. “Today is for tomorrow.”

If our today’s are for tomorrow then we should care about who matters in that tomorrow.

I don’t ever want to be in a place where “I’ve moved on from youth ministry.” Because I think everyone is called to youth ministry.

If love is a real thing. Then everyone is called to youth ministry.

This one right here…this life right here…is for all of the kids who need someone to care. I’ll never give up loving you guys and girls–because we were all just kids needing someone to tell us that everything is going to be okay.

This life is for the HEARTBREAK DREAMER (Thanks Mat for singing what’s on my mind.)

HEARTBREAK DREAMER SPOKEN WORD (LISTEN HERE)

And this one right here ah.. this is for the fat girls
This one is for the little brothers
This is for the schoolyard wimps, for the childhood
bullies that tormented them
To the former prom queen and for the milk crate ball players
For the nighttime serial leaders and for the retired
elderly Walmart store front door greeters
Shake the dust
This is for the benches and the people sitting upon them
For the bus drivers driving a million broken hymns
To the men who have to hold down three
jobs simply to hold up their children
For the nighttime schoolers and for the midnight bike riders trying to fly
Shake the dust
This is for the two year-olds who cannot be understood
because they speak half English and half God
Shake the dust
For the boys with the beautiful beautiful sisters
Shake the dust
For the girls with those brothers who are going crazy
Those gym class wallflowers and the twelve
year-old afraid of taking public showers
For the kid who is always late to class ’cause he forgets the combination to his lockers
For the girl who loved somebody else
Shake the dust
This is for the hard men who want love but know that it won’t come
For the one’s amendments who not stayin’ up
For the ones who are forgotten
For the ones who are told to speak only when you are spoken to
And then they are never spoken to
Speak every time you stand so you do not forget yourself
Do not let one moment go by that doesn’t
remind you that your heart beats a hundred thousand times a day
And that there are gallons of blood making every one of you oceans

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