Dump Trucks and Dirt: A conversation about student ministry

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Have you ever looked at a dump truck and thought about its job. If you would, humor me for a moment. Inside most dump trucks is often dirt, not always but for the sake of our conversation, its dirt. Do you ever consider the humbling dirt to truck ratio. Again, please humor me. The standard dump truck can carry a load of dirt weighing in somewhere around 32 tons. Everywhere the dump truck travels it will pass, dirt, lots and lots of dirt. There is dirt everywhere. I had a thought the other day as it relates to this daydream. I thought to myself “I wonder if the dump truck often questions if it is really making an impact?” I think its a valid question when you take into consideration, the dirt to dump truck ratio and just how much the truck is outnumbered by the millions if not zillions, tons of dirt in our world.
This crazy day dream illustrates well how some often think about when it comes to Middle School Ministry in the church. We have a few leaders (The dump trucks) and many students (The Dirt). This thinking often leads some to bury their head in the literal dirt and hope the problem figures itself out. Still others see this opportunity as a challenge to make a difference even if for only a small pile of dirt.

Our church is blessed to be infiltrated with many quality dump trucks in our Middle School Ministry. These are trusted adults who Love Jesus and Love our students. Trusted adults who sacrifice their time every week to make an impact in the Kingdom of God. These adults are involved in: Sunday Mornings as Small Group Leaders. Tuesday Nites as Team Leaders, Competition Team Leaders and Hospitality Team leaders. Saturday Nites as Security Team, Dodgeball Organizers, Snack Shop servers and Front Door supervisors. We are very blessed.

Recently, a student was in a disagreement with another student, this disagreement was keeping them from attending DRIVE (Tuesday Nites, 7-9pm, Shameless plug). When confronted about this, I graciously offered that I would move him to a different team if it would bring him back. When given this opportunity the student responded: “Move the other people to a different team, my team leader is awesome.” This leader, this dump truck is doing more than moving dirt around, this leader is making a kingdom impact.
If I could brag about our leaders for a moment. Our leaders care deeply for our kids! They are always coming up with creative ways to help our students know that they are loved. Simple things like: just being present, laughing with them, setting up a volleyball nets to play together, listening to them with passion and conviction to the struggles facing their generation, baking cookies, sending messages of encouragement throughout the week, leading them to God’s word in times of doubt, learning their names, and most importantly building trust to earn the right to speak about the Hope of Jesus in their own lives. Our leaders are on the front lines to see the realities of sin in our world and our Powerful God at work in the lives of our students. Our leaders are committed to helping students take their next steps in following Jesus with a lifelong faith. Because of our dump trucks and their commitment to serving our students our ministry is successful. One thing I can say with complete confidence about our ministry team is that when students attend they leave knowing they are loved here.

Next time you see a dump truck remember that we might not be able to move all the dirt in the world. But that dump truck is not responsible to move all the dirt in the world. No that dump truck is responsible for the dirt it is currently carrying. That is why I love our leaders, because they are committed to Loving Jesus and the students He has placed in our ministry.

There is a lot of dirt in this world, not many realize, there are close to three thousand Middle School Students from: Hamburg, Frontier and Orchard Park combined. The dump trucks we have in our ministry are amazing, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But as Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful but workers are few”. The reality is we could really use a few more people excited for a challenge, to join in the process of seeing God move students who are far from Him, into a relationship with the Hope of the World, Jesus Christ. If you are inspired to be a dump truck please email me: Pastor Tom tneary@wchamburg.org. I would love to speak with you about how you can join our team!

Disclaimer: In no way is the word dirt meant to be a derogatory statement about our teenagers.  This was just a creative metaphor.

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