In about three weeks, my wife is going to give birth to our first child. This is beautiful, overwhelming, humbling, and more than anything, exciting.
The last eight and a half months have caused me to think back and reflect on what brought me here, and what God has done in my life to lead to this moment.
Surprisingly, I can trace it all the way back to being cast in the theatrical role of a lifetime as Prince Charming in a dramatic 6th grade performance of Rapunzel. My co-star was a girl named Amanda, and due to our parents being present at the performance, we shook hands at the end of the play in lieu of the scripted emotional kiss.
That summer, Amanda courageously invited me to go to a summer camp with her church, and like any 13 year-old boy, I went because a cute girl asked me to. I may have signed up for the wrong reasons, and I may have only been going into 7th grade, but that camp changed my life forever. Perhaps not all at once . . . but I knew then that my life would not be complete unless Christ was at the center.
Over the next few years, I continued to grow deeper in my faith, attending and leading bible studies, learning guitar so I could lead praise and worship, and attending youth groups regularly. At a Steubenville conference I learned about the true power of the Eucharist in Adoration, and at the Life Teen Leadership Conference I learned how to take it back to my parish and school.
Through all of these events and experiences, I met a girl named Jess at a Life Night at my local parish, the girl who would one day marry me, and is now going to bring a new life into the world in three weeks.
Let me be clear in my point.
None of this would have happened if I had not been casually asked to go to summer camp when I was in 7th grade, and said yes (mostly because of hormones). I would have never had that kick-start to my faith, continued it through high school, become a youth minister, married my wife, or work for Life Teen.
You may feel that you are too young, or that you cannot truly make a difference. You may know someone at your school that is 'beyond help' or would never say yes to coming to church. But just imagine the risk you are taking by not asking and extending the invitation.
Your invitation will change someone's life forever. You make the invitation, and hand the rest of the work over to God.
I challenge you to write down the names of five people that are on your heart to invite to a church event this summer. Start to pray for them, and when the time is right, extend that invitation.