If you were to have asked me six months ago (or even a few blog posts ago) what we do as a ministry, the words “planting seeds” would have come out of my mouth. We have the privilege to teach, explain, and apply the Word of God in the lives of youth. While this is part of the joy of what we do; this is not the sum of what we do. In actuality, most days if you were to look in our hands, you wouldn’t find a seed. You would find a shovel.
What do we do most days in our ministry? We dig holes.
[Excuse me while I attempt to sound like a gardener in the next few paragraphs.]
Before a seed is able to go into the ground and take root… a hole must be dug. Digging in the dirt requires consistency, physical presence.. and yes… getting dirty. It also requires hope. If there is no hope that one day a seed will become something more… there is no motivation to continue the work of digging.
Holes are necessary. A seed must grow roots in order for it to become what it is meant for. And the roots that spring from that seed need a hole deep enough to contain them… and protect them. If roots become exposed they are susceptible to damage by lawn mowers, foot traffic, or pesky little insects. In short, they are vulnerable to becoming wounded.
The roots of the youth we come in contact with have been wounded by life and sin. Deep rooted pain requires deeper holes to be dug. The deeper the hole, the more time is expended. This is the work of consistency… time and presence. Many youth have no concept of a loving relationship which presents a barrier of understanding when it comes to hearing about a God who loves them. Others have been used and abused for someone else’s gain. They won’t trust the message unless they trust the messenger first.
As we dig these holes it is not uncommon to find that our work has been undone by things beyond our control. Previous relationships, family dynamics, changing environment, and surrounding culture pushes dirt back in little by little. Lack of leaders to help dig. The holes get refilled. We grab our shovels.
Our hope is that God would use the holes we are digging and plant the seeds of His truth and love within them. We are grateful when we have the opportunity to plant the seeds, but in the many instances where youth pass in and out of our lives, we pray we have paved the way for others to continue the work.