DRINKING FRAPPUCCINOS & MAKING PRANK CALLS: The Power of Spending Personal Time with Teenagers

I can still remember the day my Youth Pastor came by on a Saturday morning & picked up my brother & I in his 4×4 truck & took us high up into the Cascade mountains to have some fun in the snow. For two middle schoolers growing up in the early 90’s who didn’t have much to do on the weekends, this was (As teenagers in California say) “Hecka-Kool!!” In our minds, we were going on an adventure of epic proportions – to see things no man had ever seen before & to do things that could possibly be even DANGEROUS! My brother & I were like Sam & Frodo leaving the peace & safety of the Shire to travel to the far away mountains of Mordor! We had so much fun that day. The highlight came when we found the perfect snow-covered logging road where Pastor Brent proceeded to perform spin-out after spin-out in his truck! We screamed, we laughed & we saw a different side of our Youth Pastor that day – a relaxed side, a human side, a side that connected with our souls & won our hearts!

photoFast forward 21 years & now I’m the Youth Pastor of a growing church in a large city with messages to prepare, worship sets to practice, events to plan, teams to build & a seemingly never-ending “To Do” list to complete! In the craziness of it all, it can be so easy to get distracted from my main mission – to pastor youth. And God has used a 13-year-old middle school boy named “Khalei” to remind me of the power of personal time spent with a teenager.  Khalei first came to our youth ministry about six months ago & captured our attention with his huge smile! I found out later that he came from a history of pain & brokenness involving drugs, gangs & death – both his father & older brother were murdered in separate incidents. Yet through it all, Khalei would come alive at church – serving wherever needed & responding to God’s Word. Because he never had a ride, either I or some our amazing youth leaders would have to drive the 20 minutes one way to pick him up & drop him off. Khalei would often become sad when I would take him home, asking “If we could hang out just a bit longer?” My wife & I, along with some of our key leaders, soon began to make adjustments in our schedules so we could spend more time with Khalei. One saturday last month, I picked him up just like my Youth Pastor picked me up those 21 long years ago. First I took him to McDonald’s because he wanted two McChickens for lunch & then we went to Starbucks to chill & drink Frappuccinos. The highlight of our day came when we decided to prank call one of our youth leaders using Eastern Indian accents – we never laughed so hard together! As I took Khalei home that night he told me that I was like a dad to him…

It’s been said that teenagers spell “Love” as “T.I.M.E.” and lately God has reminded me of how true that is. 21 years from now, Khalei probably won’t remember my greatest 3 point messages or that successful outreach event I planned, but he will remember the time I spent with him on a Saturday afternoon drinking Frappuccinos & make prank calls! – Derek

2 thoughts on “DRINKING FRAPPUCCINOS & MAKING PRANK CALLS: The Power of Spending Personal Time with Teenagers

  1. “My brother & I were like Sam & Frodo leaving the peace & safety of the Shire to travel to the far away mountains of Mordor!” LOL! That’s awesome… Powerful testimony of your ministry; love the prank calls with Eastern Indian accents. Good stuff!

    Like

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