An Open Letter to the Youth at MVCC: The One about Pastor Steve
He is a sold out Steeler’s fan, which I suppose is pretty gutsy to be living this close to Baltimore. He can’t function without coffee, he loves Mexican food (which I would never fault anyone for), and he washes his face with a loofah (freak).
Going into the summer, I already knew some of these things about our youth pastor. (The loofah thing was new.) But you see, serving you as summer intern meant that I also had the opportunity to serve Pastor Steve, Patrick, Lenor, and Stefani. Basically, I spent the summer working behind the scenes in the youth ministry. I say that because SOS and WOW combined only made up about 25% of my hours, so the majority of the work that Leah, Ervin and I did, you never saw. But that also means that the majority of the work that your youth staff, primarily Pastor Steve, does, you never see either.
So I decided to tell you what I got to see.
For starters, Pastor Steve’s job does not begin at 6:30 Sunday nights and end at 8:45 when family groups let out. His job is so much more than SOS, more than I even realize. The hours that it takes to plan SOS alone could make up an entire job (and they practically did for Ervin this summer… just ask him if you don’t believe me). But in reality, that’s maybe only 10% of his job. Retreats, student leadership teams, special events, missions trips, adult leaders, relationships with students, weddings, church staff meetings, the occasional sermon… y’all, I could keep listing things off, but I think you get the idea. Now, you should know that I made up that whole 10% figure. I could be way off, but based on what I have seen, I really don’t think I am. But its not just that Pastor Steve wears many hats. He does all these things, and he does them better than anyone I know.
I’m sure if he knew that I was writing this (notice I’m publishing it after my internship ended and I moved out of the state) he would want me to mention that he works on a team of dedicated, loving, prayerful believers who work really hard to make sure that your experiences in the youth group are excellent. But, I’m not writing about that team (even though it is critical and deserves recognition too). This is the one about Pastor Steve, remember?
I have heard nothing but wonderful things about The Fall Retreat. Students go on missions trips every summer, experience God, and come back changed. I’ve not only gone on those trips, but I have helped lead three of them. I know I’m right, I’ve lived it every summer since I was 16! I worked a Senior Banquet my junior year, attended it when I graduated myself, and then I went as a guest this year when my brother graduated. I’ve seen it. I know how special it is, but that is only because Pastor Steve makes it that way. I saw my next door neighbor, someone who hated the very name of Jesus come to a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. He hated church, until he came one Sunday and heard Pastor Steve preach. Now, I will tell you he wasn’t saved that day. But I do believe, and he will tell you this himself, that had Steve not preached that day, he wouldn’t have continued to come back to Mountain View.
Y’all, you have an incredible, godly man as your youth pastor, and you are so blessed to be able to sit under his wisdom and teaching. The work, love, and prayer that he puts into everything that he does is hard to even imagine. And yet, so much of it goes unnoticed. Because what The Lord is using Pastor Steve to do is something that even the American church, in general, is not doing.
According to surveys conducted by Barna and USA Today, between 70 and 75% of Christian youth leave the church after high school. But, over half of students (that I know of) who were involved in The View Student Ministries at Mountain View either go to a Christian college or university when they graduate, or, become actively involved in an on-campus Christian Ministry such as Cru and at a local church. Out of the 12 students who were at the 2015 Senior Banquet, 5 are going to Christian schools. In a culture that continues to see young people leave the church in swarms after graduation, Mountain View sees the opposite, and that should be celebrated. Whatever Pastor Steve is doing, he is doing it right. And that right there is the proof. He is creating disciples who make disciples. He is raising up and equipping students and student leaders who know Jesus and want to make Him known. And even though I know Steve wouldn’t agree with this, you, as his students, deserve to have that pointed out. The Lord has blessed Mountain View and it’s youth through Pastor Steve.
There are lots of weird things in his office, like an orange with a face and a baby doll head. But there is also a sign that hangs above his desk and it says “given enough coffee, I could rule the world.” And I believe that. God is already using him to change this generation. I know he changed me.
All my love,
your summer intern,