by Amy Williams
I remember one of my most powerful ministry moments as a youth pastor. The lights were dim. The DJ’s turntable was on fire playing hip hop and reggaeton. The break dancers were killing it. The youth were hyped up. It was quite an atmosphere. I played a Lecrae video and the youth were feeling it…until that last line. The youth gasped. They grew silent. Many hung their heads. Others sat with their mouths open. It was unexpected and turned the table on the message they thought Lecrae was trying to get across.
The first line:
“Father, I’m prayin’ for a friend he and I are pretty close, and out of all my friends for this one I’m concerned the most.”
The last line:
“…and matter of fact there’s somethin’ else he’s concealin’ see, the person that I’ve been prayin’ about is really me.”
When we think about “disrupting the darkness,” it is very easy to focus on ministry techniques and strategies to help our young people navigate life in their deepest and darkest moments. We can dialogue about the injustice, poverty and trauma our young people face. The exact same way one would interpret Lecrae’s video “Praying for You” the first time (thinking he was talking about a friend, when in reality he was talking about himself) is often how we approach ministry. It is always our first instinct in ministry to see darkness in the lives of others and feel like we are the hero called to defeat it. But what if the darkness we need to defeat is within ourselves? What if we need to be the hero in our own lives first? How can we help our young people unless we constantly turn the mirror on ourselves first?
I truly believe healing the darkness in ourselves helps to disrupt the darkness in others. Seeing the darkness in ourselves makes it easy to spot the darkness in others. But the real power of exposing darkness in ourselves is the hope it gives us. We get the privilege of seeing and experiencing God work on our behalf for our healing. When we have this hope, we gain a boldness to believe God will disrupt the darkness in others…because we have been there too.
We know that we don’t wrestle against flesh but against the darkness of the world (Eph 6:12)
We know God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5)
We know darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can…and not our light. His Light (John 1:5). We know we were once full of darkness but now are children of the Light. (Ephesians 5:8-9)
But may we also never forget this promise:
“I will lead the blind by a way they do not know,
In paths they do not know. I will guide them.
I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.” Isaiah 42:16
Continue to reflect the Light that exposes darkness…and let it begin with you.
Amy will be training at National Conference, join her! Registration Closes May 11th.