What Ultimate Frisbee Taught Me About Youth Ministry Discipleship

Every time the church doors were open, he was there. It didn’t matter what we were doing, Kendell wanted to be part of the fun.

Every week during the summer, we’d get a crew of us together and play ultimate frisbee on the church lawn. I’ll never forget the day Kendell made a diving catch that would have put Mickey Mantle to shame. Seriously, I don’t think I’ll ever get that picture of him flying through the air and making that outstanding catch in the end zone, out of my head. It has to be one of my favorite memories of Kendell. In fact, right after it happened, I felt more excited than I did when my Chicago Cubs finally won the world series in 2016!

Youth ministry is much more about moments then programs, isn’t it? Jesus and his first-century followers understood this quite well. They often experienced something together- in the moment. If I can be honest, in my ministry career, before the Lord really humbled me, I was always looking for my moment. You know, the one where I had the best lesson ever and got noticed by someone really important. People gave me a pat on the back and someone acknowledged how awesome I was over social media. Yes, that moment.

The problem is that whenever we look for our moment, we are rarely present in this moment.

Pay attention to those things in ministry that bring you joy. You’ll be surprised at how often it’s the little shared moments with students that generate the most joy in you. Moments like….

  • The one handed frisbee catch
  • The burger eating contest
  • That ridiculous game that you’re students just LOVE to play
  • That one time you dressed up in all black and kidnapped a kid from their home (I may or may not have done this)
  • That moment at the lock-in everyone still laughs about

These shared moments together create the space for discipleship. As trust is earned between you and your teens they’ll be much more likely to open the door of their lives to you. That’s where discipleship starts. When we choose to be present in this moment today.

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