Arise and Shine (Mark 6:30-34)

“When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:34)

I don’t know about you, but this week I think I reached the tipping point of complete oversaturation of the “E!” version of media coverage. Last weekend, I was with 2,300 teens at Steubenville West hearing truth about God’s limitless love and seeing teens and adults get on busses knowing that, at least for the moment, they were sheep with a shepherd. Then I come home to a YouTube video of a Planned Parenthood doctor talking over wine and a salad about aborted babies having value; not in the value of human life way, but in the, “their in-tact organs have monetary value” way. Now, I know I don’t fully understand the numbing effect aborting babies daily has on a person, but when I prayed through Mark’s Gospel today, the words “they were like sheep without a shepherd” penetrated my heart.

Teens and adults have never needed a shepherd more than they do today! As a youth minister, you may feel like the Apostles in today’s Gospel when you work late nights and are constantly busy, finding “no opportunity to eat.” (Mark 6:31) You want to get in a boat, a cruise ship preferably, and find a deserted place to rest a while. But what Jesus, moved with pity, observes should be our response when we recognize the wolf leading the sheep astray. We must “teach them many things”:

  • Through our witness because right now the cultural witness is more appealing and attractive to teens than our Christian witness
  • Through the Word because the voices they are listening to in social and pop-culture media are often louder than the message God desires to speak to their longing hearts
  • Through the mercy of God because mercy brings healing and peace
  • Through our love because true love, lasting love, eternal love, is what teens are all yearning and love is more than simply “accepting people for who they are,” and “accepting people’s differences.”

Christ doesn’t look at His sheepfold in mass numbers; He looks at His sheep individually and notices when one goes astray. (Mark 6:34) Christ never sees the value of His sheep in the fur on their skin, the milk they produce, or their lack of blemish. No, He simply sees their value as a living creature and looks beyond what they do or have done, and loves them for who and whose they are. We must shepherd the sheep entrusted to us in the same manner.

So how do we do this? We must form apostles! As a youth minister, our job isn’t just to minister to teens, the lost sheep in Mark’s Gospel. We are called to form, minister to, and empower a Core Team, consider them modern day apostles, and send out 2-by-2 to proclaim the good news. We need a multitude of shepherds speaking truth to a culture that is seeking something, anything, or anyone to follow.

Each teen we minister has value because they were formed by God and are made in His image and likeness. We are called to shepherd them to Him through our witness, the Word, mercy, and love. We are authorized by the Holy Spirit within us to “teach them many things.” (Mark 6:34) We aren’t doing this for our glory, but for Gods.


Image via FlickrCC 2.0, Logo added 

About the Author

Tricia Tembreull

Tricia Tembreull is a California girl with a Texas-size heart for hospitality. She said yes over twenty years ago to God’s call to youth ministry and never could’ve imagined the adventures and people He had planned for her to encounter along the way. She serves as a Parish Coach for Life Teen and joyfully travels around the globe training, empowering, and praying with youth ministers. When not on a plane, you can find Tricia in a church, spending time with family and friends, in the kitchen cooking up something delightful, or on the beach for an evening walk.

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