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The Kids in the Foyer: A 3 Year Old's Perspective on Youth Ministry.

Yesterday my 3 year old daughter Kirra was walking into the church. I was going to watch her and Mya while daddy went to a meeting. Usually, when Kirra enters the church it’s on a Wednesday night when the foyer is crowded with teenagers. They are everywhere. Some standing in circles (alright, most standing in circles). Some playing ninja. Some running around chasing each other in an endless game of tag. Some sitting at tables. Some hugging the wall hoping no one will notice they are there. What I didn’t realize was that our daughter noticed all of this, because yesterday, when she walked into the darkened foyer–empty of of the smell and sounds of teen-spirit–she said,

“Mommy, where are all of your kids?”

Speechless. In one question–innocently asked–my kid put my world back into perspective.

She sees the vision. And she’s only three. These are our kids. All of them.

Wednesday night our foyer explodes in organized chaos. I get frustrated. I’m tired of seeing the kids making out on the back row–during the message! I get huffy that we have to walk around the building five times an hour to make sure kids aren’t using our property to do stuff kids do behind buildings. I can get discouraged when I see visible cliques and exclusiveness. Even when all engines are firing, we’ve got plenty of leaders, and good things are happening, I go home tired and ready to eat junk food on the couch. Ministry is messy and it isn’t easy.

But…without all of that…there’s not much to it. We love students because we want them to experience the restoration of Christ and the hope he offers to us all.

Kirra knows that teens belong in our foyer. She sensed something wasn’t right when they were gone. I hope and pray that I’ll always have that same sensitivity. I pray that teenagers lives would always be the ambition behind everything we do.

Thanks for the heads up Kirra and for being my kid. One day you’ll be one of those teens in the foyer–so important–so special, and I hope and pray there’s a youth pastor who sees the foyer as an opportunity to love you further into God’s Kingdom. Maybe I’ll be the lucky pastor who gets to do that. Maybe not. Either way, it’s my prayer sweet girl. I love you.

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Brooklyn recently founded The Justice Movement, a church youth movement that helps teenagers help others. Her priority is to inspire and resource youth to break cycles of poverty through faith in action. An ordained pastor, Brooklyn has served in full time youth ministry for the last 16 years, authored numerous books, contributes and communicates for Orange Leaders, and speaks at camps and conferences. She, her husband Coy, and daughters Kirra and Mya live in Lakeland, FL where they like being outside, playing with their dog Marley. www.brooklynlindsey.com @brooklynlindsey/ www.justicemovement.com @thejustmove