There was a boy who came to youth group, just because a girl invited him. He had nothing else to do that night, and she invited him, so he came. The leaders were friendly and the kids were friendly and over the night, his tentativeness turned into laughter and his hesitance into participation.
And when the night was over, the leaders and some of the kids said “are we going to see you next week?” and he said, “this happens every week? Is it here? Same time? Yeah, I think I’ll be back!”
And he was.
That night, the youth group was focused on planning “Youth Sunday.”
So a week later, he helped the youth group lead the congregation in worship. He hadn’t been to church in a long time and didn’t understood much of what was going on, but it was “Youth Sunday”—and he was a youth. He stood with the other teens and sang with the congregation. He wore a Youth Sunday t-shirt. He passed out bulletins.
He was back the next week. That week, he signed up to lead a middle school mission week later in the summer.
That night, the girl that invited him asked me, “do you think it would be okay if I bought him a Bible? He’s asking a lot of questions and I don’t know how to answer them all. Oh, and did you know he signed up for our high school discipleship trip this summer?”
And I smiled.
In high school, I attended a church where you couldn’t sign up for summer trips without providing the trip leader with your written statement of faith. Youth Sunday was the work of a small group of teens with polished testimonies and sterling reputations. When I tried to make friends in the youth group, I was gossiped about for being “too popular” and having “too many friends at school,” with the dramatic punchline “and most of them aren’t even Christians!”
I’m glad I’m at this church now, with these Christians, with these non-Christians.
I’m glad I serve a God who is big enough to be glorified by the worship of a kid with no clue about His magnitude—only that he feels something and wants to know more.
God welcomes us extravagantly to the table that is set for all. And although I did not set the table, it is my joy to pull out chairs for others and tell them I hope they stay for dessert.