Last night I was able to do one of the great privileges of ministry, I married two of my former youth group students from a few years ago. I stood up there with them last night and was like a dad who could not have been more proud. To see this young woman and this young man who have pursued God with all of their heart and in that pursuit found each other just thrilled my heart. They love Jesus, are deeply committed to one another, love people and their lives are shining examples of what I have been pouring my life out for. I’ve been in full time youth ministry for 15 years and early on I realized I would not truly know how successful I was as a youth pastor for years to come. John 15:16 says we are called to not only bear fruit but to bear fruit that remains.
My goal as a youth pastor was not just to get youth through their teenage years but to give youth a foundation for a lifetime of devotion and passionate commitment to Jesus. I want to be able to see those youth in 30 years and I want them to look me in the eye and say, “Banning, I’m more on fire for Jesus today then I’ve ever been. I’m more in love with Jesus then ever before. More people are getting saved, healed, and delivered then ever before. I’m plugged into a local church and changing the world in the sphere the Lord has placed me in. I’m married to the best spouse ever and my kids are serving Jesus” That will be true success. I absolutely want to see young people make it through their teens and twenties on fire for Jesus, but I want that fire to increase year after year after year. Last night, I was again reminded that the goal is not just fruit but fruit that remains. As I performed the ceremony last night I saw two young adults whose lives were part of a generation who will be fruit that remains. Let’s press in for a generation who will as passionate for Jesus as they may be in their youth will be even more passionate for Jesus in the years to come.
Few random thoughts.
In a few days my boy turns 5 and my oldest girl is starting Jr. High. Wow, wow, wow. When did I get old enough to have a Jr. High daughter. But I am so super proud of all three of my kids and the older they get I just seem to get even more proud.
The Call Sacramento is coming up Sep 3-4. If you are in the area do everything you can to get there. www.thecall.com will give you more info.
We just recorded our latest CD/DVD at our last Jesus Culture Redding conference. I’ve been working through the songs and they are incredible. God’s presence is all over them. I’m excited to see this album get out there. As always Kim Walker Smith, Chris Quilala, and our band just brought it!
Jesus Culture Encounter will be happening this year January 7-8, 2011 instead of our normal February dates. Russell Evans from Planetshakers in Australia will be with us this year. Stoked to have him ministering this year.