I recently went to YouthFront Camp South to work a retreat for a local church. While I was there I was able to enjoy some good conversation with the camp manager, Fletch. We started off talking about completely random and silly things, but then we turned the corner and started discussing life and God. It was pretty incredible.
I shared with Fletch a few different things I had been dealing with as of late—the main one being about doubt. Over the past 2 years, I have had a few good bouts with doubting whether I should continue my work at YouthFront. Anytime I would go into one of these seasons, a couple things would happen.
First, since this was a ministry job I put some serious weight behind any doubts I ever had. I took every questioning thought to heart, and viewed my doubts as a sign from God for me to move elsewhere. The problem was that there was never any clear indication that I was even supposed to actually leave. There would be some occasions where I felt like not working for YouthFront, while other times I would love everything about the job.
The thing that really made these doubting seasons bad were their timing. I would be smack in the middle of raising support, and then BAM! Doubt hits and instantly I would shut down. I would still go to work, but I would immediately pause all support raising efforts—because if I’m not supposed to work at YouthFront anymore, why should I raise money I’ll just end up giving back? Consequently, I am now at the end of my second year on staff here at YouthFront and I am still struggling to get the remaining 50% of my support raised.
After I shared this with Fletch, he spoke some real wise words to me. Essentially, he talked about how different people in the Old and New Testament doubted, but they went on following God’s calling regardless. When people in the Bible doubted and ended up putting everything on hold until they received another confirmation that “yes...this is still what God wants you to do,” they were typically in the wrong. Just look at Saul who hid under the pomegranate tree—too afraid to fight the Philistine army. God had given Saul’s army clear directions, but they began to doubt, fear, and ultimately freeze up. Jonathan, however, did as God wanted despite his father’s inability to act.
The implications of this truth really opened my eyes. I began to understand the fact that doubting happens in all aspects of life, but God’s calling speaks in a whole different way. Doubt caused by a bad day at the office is completely different than God telling you to be in a different place than you currently are.
Fletch also gave me 3 reasons why it seemed to him like I was where God wants me:
1. I am surrounded by a community that consistently builds me up.
2. I have had unprecedented spiritual growth since I’ve come on staff.
3. God has used me countless times to really get kids fired up for living a life wholly devoted to God.
So now I am entering my 3rd year on staff, and I am not only ready to start diving into support raising...but I am ready to really give YouthFront all I’ve got—even in those doubting days.
Phil & I led an aerobics class for Jacob's Well at YF Camp South
YOUTHFRONT AND ME
“So Nick...what do you do now that camp is over?” I get this question a lot right after every camp season comes to a close, so I figured I would clear the air by letting you guys in on what happens at YouthFront during the non-camp season.
The biggest thing I do here involves camp, and believe it or not...it is something we as a staff work on from November to August every year. That basically means we have a 3-4 month break between camp seasons...and then it all begins again. We take lots of trips to colleges to recruit staff for our camps, we plan the curriculum for camp, write camper manuals, develop sports themes and activities, hire and train around 300 staff and teen staff, prep the grounds and buildings for campers to start coming...and that’s just a partial list. There is just a lot to do every year before anyone even sets foot on our property for camp.
Aside from doing camp, I work various retreats at our camps (hosting, doing sports, teaching, etc). I also either plan or assist in the execution of many city-wide events YouthFront pulls off every year. The main events being the Altar, Youth Worker Training Days, Serve Day and the Youth Worker Appreciation Dinner. On top of all that, I am also heavily involved at my church. I disciple a group of high schoolers and I help lead worship at our twenty-something service called the Gathering.
Basically, there is more than enough work here at YouthFront to keep me going year-round, and I am loving what I am doing. YouthFront gives me the freedom to take random trips to serve in various countries, work at camp, pull off city-wide events and disciple kids all under one occupation. Thanks for allowing me to continue in such a great ministry!