Say Yes to the Next Generation

This past week I had the awesome opportunity to go to Camp Kidjam as a leader for my church. I love camp. There really is nothing quite like it. Being out of your home in a new place with a group of kids and being able to share the love of Jesus with them. Going into camp I was really praying for my group of four, fourth and fifth grade boys that I would be leading a small group with over the days of being there. I always want to be intentional with the relationships I am in, so I was excited for what God was going to teach and show them. What I hadn’t fully realized was that God wanted to teach and show me some things about him and about my calling into full time ministry. Funny how that can happen isn’t it? We get so engrossed in other people that we forget about what we ourselves can learn. I was so focused on what they would learn, but God wanted to teach me as well. In our leader devotionals, the first day spoke to the fact that God has something for us not just for the kids you were leading. God showed me something very important, something that each of us can apply in our lives.

What I learned at camp was this, you have to say yes to the little things in order to bring on the bigger. There is a certain order to all relationships, a foundation of trust, and the same is true with what God asks of us. It seems a bit simple, but the impact is lasting. During the week, the leaders would often have to go on stage a play some ridiculous games, or, get the dreaded awesome sauce leader award. Not only did we have to say yes when asked, we had to be sure that we said yes to worship. There were several churches that had leaders that simply stood and watched instead of jumping in. Our church chose to say yes and worship, doing the dance moves no matter how silly it became. We had to say yes when the kids in our dorms had a nerf gun war or pillow fight. The whole week we said yes to the next generation, so that we could have an influence when it came time to share the gospel. In any walk of life, we have to say yes when Go calls us, so that we can step into the impact he wants us to make. When we say no, we lose our grasp on the relationships and prevent opportunities from presenting themselves. Say yes.

Say yes to messy.

My favorite moment of camp where God spoke to me was after I said yes to messy. In one of the jam sessions, I was asked to go on stage and play a game where I had to guess the name based off of pictures given. First off, I love stuff like this, my brain with useless trivia kicked in and I got two out of the four right, giving points to our team. I felt like a rock star as my kids swarmed me after I got off stage. Later that night, I was called up again with one of the girls from our church. The game was simple, have your student paint your face with your team’s color (ours was red). The staffer was so nice and told Camryn (the student) to be sure to give me a mustache. I laughed and looked at Camryn and said, “Do whatever you want, go absolutely crazy.” Her face lit up like I had given her the best present ever. I closed my eyes and felt the coldest paint on my face; it was in my mouth, in my hair, and even got a bit in my nose! We didn’t win, which was lame because we were waaaay better than yellow, but it was awesome. I may have looked like Stephen King’s, “Carrie,” (click here to see!) but it didn’t matter, I said yes to messy.

That night after I had spent time in the bathroom sink, we went back to the dorms. I was just about ready to shower off when I heard a knock on the door. One of the boys walked in and looked like he was shaking a bit. I asked him if everything was okay, and he looked at me with tears welling up in his eyes and said he was missing his family. I let him sit next to me on the extra bed in our room while my co-leader stopped kids from coming in (it’s never fun to be looked at when you’re dealing with tough things). We simply sat and I had my arm around him, then I asked if I could pray for him. He shook his head and we prayed, we prayed for peace and comfort and a good night’s sleep. He jumped off the bed and went to his room, later I was finally showering the paint out of my hair and God told me that that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t willing to get messy.

Say yes to the small so you can say yes to the big.

The thing that was so powerful is that had I not said yes to getting messy and being a goofball, I couldn’t have said yes joining this student in their hard time. The same is true for any of us. We must be willing to say yes to the small things, the things that seem so unimportant and may make us seem not as cool, so that we can say yes to the big moments. The moments where the Holy Spirit prompts us to make a bigger impact. I see this happen not enough with my generation of millennials, were often so focused on how others perceive us that we become unwilling to say yes when it may compromise our image. That’s a trap from the devil. We need to step out and look a little goofy sometimes. We need to say yes to the small so we can say yes to the big things God wants us to do. It starts small so it can become something greater than any of us. Say yes.

Say Yes

This past week was so awesome. I got to have fun and be goofy, while saying yes to the things God wanted me to do. I’m tired sure, but my heart is so filled with love for the next generation. God showed me how sometimes we need to say yes, even when things may get us messy or have us look silly, but it will allow us to have a deeper relationship with those we are trying to influence. God wants me to continue to say yes to the next generation as I walk towards full time ministry, but he also wants you to say yes to the personal ministry that you are in. So get messy and say yes to the small things, because God will use that to leave a lasting impact.

Say yes when God calls.

-Joshua Thomas

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2 thoughts on “Say Yes to the Next Generation

  1. What a great lesson to learn and share! I just love it when God speaks to us in those still small moments. I’m so glad you were obedient and humble enough to be able to minister the way you may not have been able to otherwise. (PS: that picture of you is a classic!)

  2. Pingback: Birthday Musings | Warm Tea, Comic Books, and B-Movies

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