In light of the cold spell we’ve been having lately I’ve been starting to anticipate our first real snow. You know, the kind of snow you can go out and play in. The kind where sledding is really fun. Maybe you’re looking forward to it like me. Or maybe, once you get a taste you’ll probably hope that it goes away as quickly as it came. You could be the person who’s not looking forward to it at all.

Or maybe you’re facing snowstorms of a figurative kind…

How are you weathering those?

A few years ago we had a snowstorm that gave me some good time to think, to shovel, to play, and to shovel some more. During that shoveling, one question came to mind. How is youth ministry like a snowstorm? I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to answer that question but the more I pondered it the clearer it became.

Think about a snowstorm. Snow gets poured in from above covering everything and creating a beautiful and often messy landscape. Once the snow is done we begin the process of removal only to have it drift back again, sometimes even higher than before. The irony is that we can’t really stop it. We just lace up our boots, don our gloves, and start all over again.

Youth ministry, and particularly discipleship, is often the same way. Snow flurries are dumped in from all sides re-creating a beautiful yet messy landscape we call life. And the more I think about it the more I realize that it happens to all of us, not just youth. So we lace up our boots, don our gloves, and “dig in.” We shovel through life together. Then the wind comes and it drifts back in again.

I am reminded of Jesus and his disciples in Mark 8:13-21. Jesus and his disciples had been traveling and reaching out to large numbers of people and were likely very tired. They were in a boat, they were hungry, and they had forgotten to bring food with them. The disciples were talking amongst themselves trying to figure out what to do. The “winds” of hunger and frustration began to set in. At this point Jesus found it necessary to remind them of all that they had just been through, in particular Mark 6:30 through Mark chapter 8, and he rebukes them with a simple yet profound phrase, “How is it that you do not understand?”

Aren’t we often just like that? Buried under another drift and digging out again, we need to be reminded and maybe even rebuked. Don’t be surprised, the snowdrifts will come. Sometimes we cause them and sometimes we don’t. Each time, however, we “dig in” and “dig out.” This is the essence of discipleship. This is learning to love God, to read the Word, to love each other, and do it all over again when we fail. This is living life together.

Who are you weathering the storms with?

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