The One Thing

Posted on by Dan Marlow

Is there a secret to effective youth ministry? Is there one thing that matters above all else?

When you think back on your own life, what was the one thing that had the most positive impact on you and your faith? Was it a trip or an event? Maybe a particular sermon or talk you heard? Was it that mission trip you took to build houses for poor families? Or was it, perhaps the patient loving acceptance and input of a friend or mentor?

In my experience, and it seems to be born out in studies, the most important impact on my life and faith came from a guy named George. George was just an average guy who worked as an engineer at Chrysler. He didn't have any special training in youth ministry. He wasn't a great preacher or bible study leader. He wasn't a cool youth guy who's wild personality made kids want to hang around him. George was just an average guy who cared about kids.

George came along at a time in my life when, as a high school junior, I was utterly lost. Things were happening in my life that I wasn't equipped to understand or handle and I was teetering in what little faith I had. With no fanfare or strategic plan, George became my mentor and I didn't even know it.

George did several things that made a huge impact on me over the next three years:

  1. George showed up (consistantly). He led summer bicycle trips of 1000 miles or more and he made me his assistant. I wasn't qualified but he saw something in me.
  2. George accepted me in love. He knew the state of my life, maybe not all of the specifics, but the general lostness I felt. He never preached at me or chided me. He simply accepted me for who I was and where I was.
  3. George modeled the kind of faith that made me want to be like him. His example helped me to believe that God cared about me.

Today, I'm a Christian, in large part because of George. I consider him my spiritual father.

What is the one thing that matters most? It is being "George" to lost, hurting and troubled kids. If we can do that, God can transform lives for eternity.

Was there a "George" in your life?

Is there a kid you can be a "George" to?

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