Surprising Legacy

Names of Legacy:

Consider all these important and influential people: John Powell, Patrick Horgan, Tim Lee, Kate Dean, Rupert DeSalis, Chris White, Chris Knowles, Larry & Shirley Morris, Paul Williams, Julian and Kathy Hardy, Sam Cowell. Do you know these names? Probably not… (Unless you know me well)…

You see, these people have all played a part in my life leaving a legacy and ultimately have been instrumental in shaping many ideas, thoughts, and foundations of who I am today. Of course, there are writers and speakers who shaped my thinking, but these people I named are the ones who not only shared their faith and the gospel with me, but they shared their lives as well.

Currently I am the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Chicago with 2500 other youth workers from all around the country and the world. The theme for this conference is “Surprising Legacy” and the idea (and the reality) of how our lives in student ministry are leaving a surprising legacy with the people we minister to on a weekly basis.

If you are like me, it’s often difficult to see what impact I am having on young people. I certainly don’t consider myself as someone who is having a profound impact on students’ lives. If your experience is like mine, students are not always forthcoming in their praise for what I do or what I teach. Teenagers do appreciate what we do, but we don’t always hear it or see it do we? To some degree, this is what makes our legacy surprising… Whether or not we know it now or in many years to come, we are all leaving a legacy with students…

In the last few years I have been contacting youth leaders and adults who were in my life when I was a younger and thanking them for what they did for me when I was younger. As I have tracked them down and talked with them it has helped me to see what it was these leaders did to make such an impact in my life. It’s been so helpful to consider what they did and consider what I do today to make a lasting difference too.

In ministry it is often very easy to get caught up in programs, events and the latest thing and forget what truly matters as we minister to students. As I consider the surprising legacy I am leaving, it is so helpful that I look back and remind myself what influential leaders did in my life to help find faith, grow in faith and be equipped for my faith journey. It is when I look back like this that I am to see what my ministry today needs to be like to make sure I am leaving a lasting and healthy legacy with students.

What could our ministries look like if we could live out what has been modeled to us by other influential Godly adults in our lives growing up? What did they do that so changed the course of our lives? What did they do to help us grow deeper? What did they do to encourage in times of struggle? What did you and I see in them when we were looking for direction?

What legacy are we leaving as we look back to the legacy that has been left with us? What do YOU remember about the Godly adults in your life growing up? How could you model that today in your ministry?

2 Responses to Surprising Legacy

  1. Alan Witchalls March 2, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    Yeah, I know all of those people, buddy! All of them rogues (Christian rogues, that is!). Ah, the memories: BB Sundays, Bible study at Tim & Viv’s, bombing along in your red nova, NEXT weekend aways, and of course Camel-gate. It is indeed funny yet humbling to think how God was shaping us through those years. It’s a challenge also that we leave such an impression on our young people, too.

  2. youthworktalk March 2, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    Yes Alan, great to look back at the memories. Gives me so much hope to think that God could use me as He did the leaders in my life. Shoot me an email sometime and give me an update on your life and ministry…

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