All youth ministers have this dream; a dream much beyond pizza arriving on time or teens actually laughing at their jokes. It goes beyond wanting the perfect youth space or having hundreds of teens attend Life Nights. I think the ultimate dream for every youth minister is to see teens completely surrender themselves to God. This is the livelihood of every youth minister — to get teens to that point. I know because it is my dream.
I am 18 years old now and since I was 16 have been fulfilling the role of “youth minister” (Confirmation and youth group) at my parish for other teens my age. Yes, I realize how odd this sounds and perhaps you’re cringing at the thought of this. At the end of my sophomore year we had to “let go” of our youth minister. I saw the impact youth ministry had on my own life and felt inspired to make sure other teens could have the same experience. And although greatly unqualified, God called me to fulfill this role anyways. This led me to attend Life Teen Leadership Conference (LTLC) this June.
Had you told me 4 years ago that my faith would lead me from California to Kansas, I would have laughed. Now looking back I see God’s plan and how He has been calling me higher and higher. I can’t put what happened at LTLC into words that will do it justice. But I can explain what the perfect combination of sacraments, speakers, adoration, worship, fun, prayer, and a room of 500 young Catholics did to me. It left me inspired and changed.
To make it clear, LTLC isn’t your normal retreat. The special thing about LTLC that separates it from anything else is the level of intensity. Almost every speaker started off with, “I’m going to be honest.” In return, the teens opened up on a level I’ve never seen. Additionally, it seemed like every teen genuinely wanted to be there and wanted more.
In the short time I’ve been back I can already see how much LTLC impacted me. Most importantly, my prayer life and my relationship with Christ have been reformed. And that has translated to wanting to share it with others. Five days after, I pulled together a youth group meeting and we did one of the activities I did at LTLC. I can even see that I am a more of an effective leader. And one of the biggest things I got from LTLC was learning not be afraid to show my faith to non-Christians, something that was very difficult for me.
I know the feelings and memories will fade away. But I am confidant LTLC will stick with me forever: all the practical tools, the words said, and how inspired I was by the other teens. We may have all come from different states and places in our lives, been like the teen I described in the beginning, or just weren’t there yet. But at the end of the week we all left on the same page. We all left with our lives completely in Gods hands, inspired, and now, ready to change the world for Christ.
Editor’s Note: This blog is part of a series of blogs that relate to our 2014 theme Inspire[d]. If you would like to submit about a blog about an Inspire[d] story that you have, please see these guidelines.