Finally resumed my small group meeting with Marco and Ken – two high school students, one from Ateneo the other from La Salle. (To some this would already be considered a miracle. But neither are too true blue or green, so it really isn’t a big deal.) The others couldn’t make it, but it was fun catching up with them anyway.
We talked a little about Marco’s trip to China and Ken’s vacation to the US. But the lion’s share of the conversation went to the Avengers.
I ended up giving a lot of backstory to the Marvel universe and we talked about who-would-beat-who if they fought. One thing I enjoy about campus ministry is that these tidbits of geekery aren’t completely useless.
As we got into our topic for the day – considering others better than ourselves – I was excited to see them understanding what God’s word said and how they can apply it to their own lives. It might seem shallow and inconsequential in the societal, international, cosmic scheme of things, but I know that this training will serve them well in the future. And we’ll be glad they learned it young.
Leaving the place, I remembered an old feeling that surprised me when I first went into campus ministry. After two years of doing this full-time, I found myself being a little bit more jaded when talking with teenagers about life. They’d talk about crushes, bullies, school, etc. And I would think, “Gosh, wake me when you’ve got a REAL issue.”
I realized that in my oh-so-grown-up mind, I considered my current problems more significant than theirs and it was easy to bat their concerns away with, “You think you’ve got it tough?” Part of it might have been tough love, wanting to show them there’s more to life. Part of it was selfish arrogance.
I’m thankful for my parents, my mom in particular, who never failed to relate to us at our current level of (im)maturity and relate God to that situation. “Jesus never fails, Joseph. He can help you finish your science project.” I’m thankful for disciplers like Crunchie, Mel (Bong), and Rico who taught and trained us without condescension. And I’m thankful for mentors and friends now who see how much I still lack and are patient to walk me through the process.
Sometimes what seems basic to us isn’t to others. This is especially true when working with younger people. Whether you have people like that at home, or you do it professionally as a campus missionary, teacher, coach, or tutor, or you volunteer in working with kids and students, let’s fight the temptation to jump ahead of their development. Instead, let’s walk alongside them and coach them. No issue is too big for God to get involved in, but no issue is too SMALL either. If they develop this muscle of faith in Him early on, they’ll be mighty later on. Like the Avengers.