This week, I mailed off a handful of handwritten thank you cards to our team. And before you start thinking about telling me I did a good job, I need to tell you they weren’t written by me. They were written by someone in our church that has no direct ties to our student ministry. She is simply someone who saw our leaders doing an excellent job in the face of this pandemic, and she wanted to encourage them. And when I say handwritten cards, I mean both inside left, inside right, and the back was filled with her positive words and Scripture.

As we wrap up 2020, I cannot help but think back to my amazing team of volunteers here at LifeBridge. It wasn’t easy to figure out how to get students on Zoom groups, especially because some of them are not digitally native. But they made it work. It wasn’t easy to teach the Bible and lead discussion online. But they did it. They had to make hard decisions based on coming back in person or staying online. But they had courage. It wasn’t always easy to keep going when our attendance dropped from what was average last year. But they kept showing up. Why? Because they love God and they love these students.

In reflecting on the past year, be sure to thank your leaders, and help others in your church to recognize them too. Some of you have a gigantic team, and others have just one. No matter what, be sure to thank them. As youth pastors, we couldn’t do it without them. And we don’t want to do it without them. Make sure they know that. Make sure they are encouraged by more than just you. Brag on them to others on your staff and in your church. This past year did not hand out a lot of natural positives that everyone easily remembers, so make sure they see the impact they made in the middle of it all.

And to all of you who work in student ministry–full-time, part-time, or volunteer: THANK YOU! Thanks for sticking it out in the midst of a confusing year. The students need you, and you stepped up. Yeah, we didn’t always get it right, but we kept going, and that’s what matters. Be sure to take some time to reflect and rest as we head into 2021. There is still more work to be done!

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