Well it seems an era has come to an end. Wednesday, Nov. 30 was my last day as youth director at Powell Baptist Church. Make no mistake; the part I will miss the most about my time at Powell is the relationships I've built with the kids there.
The group has grown and shrunk, a normal occurrence in church youth groups here in the Bible belt, but the core group I started with stuck through thick and thin. I hate that I won't see them on Sundays, Wednesdays and special trips anymore, but we have plenty of memories.
Memories like the late-night talks about life during summer camp, the water gun fights, trying to stand up on the huge slip and slide, forgetting lines during the Christmas play, playing capture the counselor in the freezing cold dark forest and secret purple moments between kids that never should have happened.
There's plenty more, but I would expend my entire space with all the things I remember. We had so much fun and learned so much about our faith together. I will always remember those times fondly.
But just as everything has its time and season (Ecc. 3:1), I knew my time at Powell was at its end. It was that very unrenewable resource that I was losing too much of. I rarely saw my wife, and I knew we couldn't continue like that for too long.
I didn't have enough time to fully prepare lessons and camps like I used to. My kids - as I call the youth group - deserve better than that from their youth director. It hurt to admit that I wasn't the right person for the job, but I knew it had to be done.
The most difficult part was not hugging everyone goodbye at the end of the night. Neither was it the ceremony they arranged for me on Wednesday. The most difficult thing was simply walking out to the car for the last time, knowing I wouldn't be back.
Sure I'll go to visit. Sure I'll keep in touch and keep tabs on how everybody's doing. But stepping out a door never felt like that before.
I know it was only three years, but for those teenagers, that is a huge section of their life. And with the average tenure of the Baptist clergy ever shrinking, it seems even longer.
Like I said, I'll miss it, but I will enjoy the extra time. I'll actually be able to go out to eat with my wife one night and not worry about which lesson isn't complete or which songs the praise band is practicing next.
The good thing is I'll be able to be spiritually fed for a while. I've been doing the feeding for so long I've forgotten what it's like to be fed. And I'll still serve in some way; count on that. All I'm doing now is waiting on a word about where and when.