I have a lot of “favorite Sundays” at church. I have been known to say our Thanksgiving service is my favorite Sunday. I’ve also said that our chili cook-off is my favorite Sunday. And then again, I’ve also said that Easter and Mother’s Day are my favorite Sundays. I guess it would be safer to say I enjoy the special things our church does as a community of believers. But today, today takes the cake.
It was Youth Sunday. Our students took over the service from greeting to preaching to baptizing. I honestly don’t know what anyone looked like today because my eyes were filled to the brim with happy tears. Our precious pastor’s wife just sat in a heap of tissues. We were all elated and wrecked in the best kind of way.
This is something we have prepared for a while now. Daniel laid out what needed to be done, what roles needed to be filled, and we sat back and watched God fill in the gaps. Our worship leaders came pretty quickly and easily. Several youth already play with us each week, and a few girls sing in choir or theater at school. They were eager to use their talents in church. A few students started asking questions like “What would I need to do for prayer requests?” or “What all needs to be done for children’s church?” It was fun to see the Holy Spirit stirring in their hearts. Slowly but surely, the pieces fell into place. They truly surprised me; I didn’t expect them to take on the roles they did, but God used them in magnificent ways.
One of the boys I’ve had since children’s ministry volunteered to do children’s church. This is a boy who had to be bribed with icees to sing in children’s choir, LEADING a group of kids in front of the church, with a lesson he prepared. Another young girl, one of our youngest members, volunteered to accept prayer requests and pray in front of everyone. Another student had the opportunity to baptize his mom- how cool is that?? And she just happens to be one of my dearest friends, so that was just icing on the cake!
But here is where I saw the Lord do his most amazing work: one of our girls preached. And I mean PREACHED! This high school student has shown incredible faith over the last year. She is so in tune with God’s calling on her life, and she steps out in faith on a daily basis. Whether it’s sharing Scripture with a friend or praying for someone in class, if she feels God tugging on her heart, she’s moving.
She spoke on Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (CSB) She boldly proclaimed that God asked her to speak, and while she didn’t know why He would have chosen her, she agreed anyway. She talked about fear and how it can be so easy to let it stop you, but when you say “yes” immediately instead of questioning or letting doubt creep in, you are more likely to go through with being obedient.
She explained that she felt confident because God’s strength was now her strength. She acknowledged the fact that it wasn’t her ability, but God’s. Without God she wasn’t enough, but through Him she was, and that made her feel like she could do anything. So she preached an entire sermon in front of her church! Y’all, I know she’s not my own, but I was one proud mama bear today, and I know her own mother was too. (After her daughter finished and she could finally breathe again, am I right?)
1 Timothy 4:12 tells us, “Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” And they set one heck of an example today. Our “guest preacher” today reminded us that it doesn’t matter how young, old, inexperienced, or weak you feel, God can and will use you. If you pray and ask for guidance, He will guide you. And if you follow His call, He will bless you. He blessed me, that’s for sure!
So, this Sunday may not have included food, but it still makes the list of my favorite Sundays. Our youth asked me on Wednesday if they could do a youth Sunday again. Mind you, this is before they even did it the first time! They trusted God enough to know that it was going to go well and be something they wanted to try again. I just love their faith, and I’m so encouraged by them. May we be more like the youth. Unafraid, unashamed, and unhindered. Amen.
If you would like to see their hard work and faith in action, check out the recording of the service at: