Let me start off by saying that I am not writer by any stretch of the imagination. So as I begin this attempt at a blog, please excuse my inexperience at doing such a thing. You see, the first month of this new year has been a whirlwind. All the things that I began planning for last year all came to fruition last month and thats what this post is about; Praying, Planning, and Preparing to encounter God throughout the whole process.
In youth ministry I spend a lot of my private time not only praying for my students and parents, but also praying for God’s guidance as I plan future events and trips. Praying that God would give me just the right people to partner with me in ministry. These people are some of the most important people in ministry. Whether they are a youth committee member, chaperone, small group leader, driver, cook, prayer warrior or an encourager, these people are what makes my ministry run so smoothly. Prayer has to be my first steps in anything I do, not only in my life, but also in the life of the ministry the Lord has entrusted me with. If I fail to do this one thing, I am basically telling God that I can handle it on my own…I CAN NOT!!
The planning part of almost everything done in my ministry starts around at least around a year out. That may mean setting dates, making reservations, securing a speaker, or whatever else needs to be on the calendar. With some encouragement, from some much wiser people than me, I have been able to see the advantages of planning ahead. I was not that guy when the Lord called me into ministry. I liked everything being just right, but I might also wait until the last minute to put things in place. Let me just say, I love the fact that I am not a last minute planner anymore…at least most of the time.
Now, let me talk about the preparing to encounter God part of what happens after all the prayer and planning has been done. This is the end goal of everything I do for our students. This part of ministry is not just my responsibility, but it the responsibility of each and everyone of us. How can we expect to hear from God if we never take the time to prepare to hear form God? You won’t!! I have not always been good at preparing for this to happen, but I have gotten better. We owe it to God every time we go to Him in prayer, open His Word, or enter the church for worship and teaching of His Word to prepare our heart, soul and mind to encounter God. Let me tell you, if you will make this a daily habit, you will see God to mighty things in and through you.
A couple of weeks ago at Winter Retreat, I was able to watch all the praying, planning, and preparing come to life. As we were closing out our weekend, I experienced the Holy Spirit moving like never before in the lives of everyone at this retreat. Yes, even the adults were being impacted by what was taking place. All I could say in that moment was, thank you, God. Because all I did was set the table for Him to have His was with our students. Man, did He ever!! I still get excited and emotional thinking about that weekend and how He set these students on fire for Jesus. Now, I can sit back a look at all the praying, planning, and preparing to encounter God and see how God used all that for His glory.
Are you praying, planning, and preparing to encounter God today? You should. You never know what He has in store for you or your family.