So we do this BIG student event called DCLA, the name comes from the cites in which the event in held. It is a BIG event! It has some BIG names, is held in BIG convention centers, has BIG sound and BIG lights, with BIG video and BIG graphics. It’s BIG time, get it. We just finished LA and next week do DC. One of the things I do at the event is to run what we call “Youth Worker Oasis”. It is a time for adult leaders to get away for their students and chill for an hour or so. I get the privilege of chatting with lots of leaders and in doing so I began to realize that sometimes these BIG events can make these youth leaders feel small. They may only have 5, 10 or 20 kids in their youth group and compared to what is going on at DCLA it doesn’t feel like much. At DCLA there are BIG time speakers and BIG time artist who are so much “better” than they are and they start to feel small or worse yet insignificant. Nothing could be further from the truth!
BIG events don’t really change students. God uses loving “small time” adults who leave these places with their students and do beatiful small things back at home that really make the BIG difference in the lives of students.
It is a small thing to sit for hours with a student and help them sort out their feelings and thoughts about God, family, friends….life. It’s a small thing to stay up all night at a lock-in to build the relationship and trust with a middle schooler that leads to meaningful conversations when they are ready to talk. It’s a small thing to listen to a students dream. It’s a small thing to speak truth into a students life about God’s dream for him or her. It’s a small thing to pray day after day for one students relationship with Jesus, to pray for their hurts, to pray for healing, to pray for their family that is falling apart or to pray for the destructive relationship they find themselves in. It’s a small thing to have a small group of students meet in your home week after week. It’s a small (and sometimes painful) thing to go to a middle school band concert, a freshman basketball game or a school play. It’s a small thing to listen. It’s a small thing to give a kid a hug, a smile, a welcome, or is it?
Compared to the BIG time speakers and BIG time artist these things seem so small. You know where I’m going with this, these are not small at all but in fact are HUGE, they are the things that matter the most. These things are the beautiful things God uses to change lives. All the BIG stuff we do at events is to set up youth workers to have more opportunities to do the “small” things. The real stars of events like DCLA are the people who came with the students and will leave with them. The ones who will be there when no one is looking, when the lights are no longer shinning brightly and all the music has faded. Our real job at BIG events is to set up these youth workers for doing what they can do best, speak knowingly into the life of a student that they have established a relationship with, to guide, Shepherd and disciple those students.
I love BIG events and God uses them in mighty ways but almost always over time those ways involve the small beautiful things done by caring adults. To all you folks who come to DCLA take heart in the Kingdom of God you are ROCK STARS because in Gods kingdom SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
2 responses to “Small is Beautiful”
I’ll never forget standing next to you at a national high school camp one evening, Tic. A femail peforming artist (who shall be nameless…) was greeting the crowd of students and with glee she told them how great this week was going to be for them. She then went on to list all of the speakers, authors and recording artists who were there to make the week so remarkable.
At this point you turned to me and said; She just told everyone that she doesn’t know anything about these kids and this week. For them – the most important person will be either thier counselor or the new friend they will make. The people on the stage are just window dressing for the truly important relationships that will form throughout the week.
Even then you were teaching me that small is beautiful… Thanks for your friendship!
I could not agree more. How amazing how God uses the little things. I loved DCLA but I often feel the same way, too. Thank you for loving on leaders like this – for 30 years!