The Inspired Volunteer

A blog to inspire the Youth Volunteers of Shepherd Church

Forever Changed — July 28, 2015

Forever Changed

Post by: Lucille Williams
Shepherd Youth D-Group Leader
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I am writing this because I need to express how working with high school girls has profoundly affected me.

I was seriously considering quitting at the end of this year. I doubted that I was making a difference. A few of my girls kept playing around and not taking our time seriously while others seemed to display apathetic attitudes.  My time is limited and I strive for balance and maximum effectiveness.

At the end of our night in small group, one of the girls suggested we go around the circle and say nice things about each person.

The uplifting words they said to each other impressed me greatly. But what hit me profoundly is what they said about me.

“Lu, while all the marriages around me are terrible, you give me hope that I can have a good marriage because of the marriage you have.”

“I think you’re the perfect parent, and I want to be a parent like you one day.”

“Beautiful.”

“You don’t judge me. I can tell you stuff I would never tell my parents.”

Please understand, I do not think I’m all that and a bag of chips. I know I’m a mess! I was totally shocked to hear such compliments from my girls. This experience will forever leave me changed.

I’ll be back next year. Lesson learned: Even when you think you’re not making any difference, you probably have no idea how you are affecting your group.

With a thankful heart,
Lu

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Working For Yogurt Melts — July 21, 2015

Working For Yogurt Melts

Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church
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As I held the slowly dissolving yogurt melt in my clinched hand, my 14 month old daughter, grimaced with determination to unleash her favorite snack. She slowly bent back each finger starting with my pinky and worked her way to my thumb. Half way through she stopped and looked at me with a puzzled look that said, “Would you just give it to me already…geezz!?” I said nothing but merely raised my eyebrows and looked back at my hand as to say, “Come on…don’t quit!” She continued her efforts and upon bending back my index finger the yogurt melt was revealed! A huge smile came across her face as she went in for the kill. She quickly threw her treat in her mouth and let out a loud, “hehehebababa!” (Or something like that). As my wife observed this trail from afar, resisting her every urge to intervene, I said to her, “I make her work for her yogurt melts…she seems to enjoy them more that way.”

I see myself in my daughter all the time. Not just because she has my same curly brown hair and walks around as if she is about to run through a wall, but because I have a tendency to question whether my efforts to achieve something worthwhile are even worth it. I am quickly motivated to start something with the idea of it accomplishing something eternal, but when my efforts become disproportional to the amount of results I see, I tend to give my Father the same look Kinley gave me. My “looks” to God are not really looks as much as they are prayers that sound something like, “God are you in this?” “So God, I have done a lot to serve my next door neighbor so that he might see You in me…so when are you going to reveal yourself to him?” “God, is all the money, time, and encouraging text messages I have sent a waste??!” “God, I have been doing a lot..so when are you going to give me an awesome story like the ones I hear from Francis Chan!?”

I wish I had a powerful closing to this blog post. Like how I can l look back and see how all my efforts have paid off…but I can’t. In fact, I can honestly say some of that  effort was done purely from a desire to feel like a “good” Christ-follower and not out of a heart that broke from the thought of him spending eternity in hell. My neighbor still has no desire, from what I can tell, to know Christ or even to have any sort of communication with me.

All I know is this…God has not called me to save people…but to serve people. And by doing so if God choses to reveal Himself through my efforts to accomplish something eternal..then so be it.

So here is what my prayers sound like now…at least half of the time.

“Father God, I am yours. Help me to serve others and remain faithful where you have placed me. I fully place all the responsibility of saving people on You. You are God and I am your follower. Amen.”

I will end with a scene from one of my favorite movies, “Rudy”

Father Cavanaugh: [in church] Taking your appeal to a higher authority?
Rudy: I’m desperate. If I don’t get in next semester, it’s over. Notre Dame doesn’t accept senior transfers.
Father Cavanaugh: Well, you’ve done a hell of a job kid, chasing down your dream.
Rudy: Who cares what kind of job I did if it doesn’t produce results? It doesn’t mean anything.
Father Cavanaugh: I think you’ll find that it will.
Rudy: Maybe I haven’t prayed enough.
Father Cavanaugh: I don’t think that’s the problem. Praying is something we do in our time, the answers come in God’s time.
Rudy: If I’ve done everything I possibly can, can you help me?
Father Cavanaugh: Son, in thirty-five years of religious study, I’ve come up with only two hard, incontrovertible facts; there is a God, and, I’m not Him.

Clarity Leads to Sanity — July 14, 2015

Clarity Leads to Sanity

Post by: Garrison Polsgrove
Youth Discipleship Pastor at Shepherd Church
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Clarity is often times the gateway to sanity. OK, let me explain. I recently meet with a frustrated married couple who were having trouble approving of their college-age son’s lackadaisical decisions. “He won’t get a job?” “He needs to start taking initiative for his life.” “He hasn’t even tried to look for work.” These were the tension revealing one liner statements the parents admitted to me in our meeting. The father kept saying, “When I was his age…” and followed it with a list of hard working endeavors that would put any young person to shame. The son sat in the corner of the room looking at the ground as his parents lamented to a pastor he had just met.

The mother chimed in, “It is just we do so much for him and I am scared he is going to live to regret the things he is doing.” I could tell her mother’s heart was breaking over the thought of seeing her “baby” hurt later in life.

I sat for a few seconds after they had finished protesting their annoyance and said, “Are you ready to hear my evaluation of what is going on?” They both consented by nodding their heads. “There is a lack of clarity as to what you as parents expect.” The father leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. I imagine he only expected me to address his son, but I was looking directly at him when I said it.

Continuing to look at the dad I said, “Since your adult son is choosing to live under your financial assistance, you get to choose how your son behaves while he is in your home.” I went on to advise the parents to make a clear written contract detailing the services each party will commit to performing. I told them to treat their adult son’s living arrangement like a business partnership where contractual services are agreed to and consequences are outlined in the case of a breach. The mother said at the end of me speaking, “This sounds great, but I am afraid my son will not do what we ask of him and then we will have to kick him out of the house.” I could tell the concern in her voice so I leaned in and looked her directly in the eyes and said, “No mom, it will not be you ‘kicking’ him out, but rather it will be your son choosing to leave.”

Clarity is often tough to come by but when you have it a sense of peace overcomes you. Are you frustrated today because you are unclear of what is expected of you? Do you feel uneasy because your weekly schedule is unclear? Do you feel unorganized because you do not have clear goals for your life?

Make an effort this week to clarify what is causing you to feel frustrated or uneasy. Although you may not like the details of what you discover, at least you can then begin the process of accepting reality.

Growth Behind The Scenes — July 7, 2015

Growth Behind The Scenes

Post by: Dan Dilzer
Shepherd Youth D-Group Leader
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I had a challenging year in D-Groups. My students would not open up and share and I went home many weeks with a sore throat because I was the only one talking.  They were not reading their Bibles and did not seem to have a hunger for getting to know God’s plan for their lives.  I completely understand their thinking because I was the same way when I was seventeen. However, due to my submission to God’s timing I never seriously thought about quitting, but I must admit it crossed my mind a time or two….until this happened…

Sunday morning I was at church for all three services, mostly just hanging around and fellowshipping. Parents of three of my students came up and asked if I had a minute to talk.  One parent told me that their child had a completely changed their attitude towards his mom because of conversations during our small group.  Another parent told me her son had so much fun at leader’s choice night (an off-campus activity we did as a group) when we went miniature golfing.  And later that week the student asked his parents to go mini-golfing with him again!  The last story was about a student who had an issue with local law enforcement.  His dad and I went out to lunch after service and he told me how proud he was that his son approached me for advice. At the time the student did not know if he could approach his dad but after some encouragement the student did come clean to his father. Although the situation was created by immaturity, it was remedied by the student modeling humility and admitting everything to his dad.  In the end everything turned out just fine. The student’s dad told me he would like for me to meet with his son a couple of times this summer just to make sure he stays on track.

Later that week I received an email from a parent of a former student who is being bullied at school.  The mother wants to meet with me and her son and pray about possible solutions.

As Garrison has repeated millions of times, we don’t always see the fruits of our labor immediately.  But on Sunday, I had a whole fruit basket!

And yes, I am coming for another year!