Father’s Day is always a bittersweet day for me, and this past one was no exception. While I celebrate the blessing of my three kids, I also spend some time reflecting on my late father Larry who passed away on October 11, 2004 when he suffered a heart attack on the 17th fairway at Burnaby Mountain Golf Course. Not a bad way to go out all things considered…at least he was doing something he loved! :p
It goes without saying that I love Dad very much and I miss him dearly. Every day, I feel his imprint on me whether it’s how I parent, how I don’t take myself too seriously, or how I think I’m a decent athlete.
In a conversation I had with my dear friend Megan over dinner last night, I lamented that I wish that my daughter Kayla, born in December 2007, had a chance to meet my Dad. As she is the first Imoo girl in 75 years, there’s no doubt that he would have doted over her and likely spoiled her. My son Jacob, born in September 2003, was barely a year-old when Dad died so at least they got to spend some time together. And my eldest Sean, born August 2001, was the lucky one as he spent quality time with Dad playing golf, hockey, and basketball among others.
Megan and I both volunteered for an event that evening that focused on getting fallen-away Catholics to return home to the Church. It was an inspiring night of testimony, faith, and hope. During the evening we heard countless stories of people returning to the faith and encountering God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
In my evening prayer, it struck me that it wasn’t by accident that Megan and I had our deep conversation earlier in the evening. I realized that the sadness I have for Kayla never getting to know Dad is the same sadness I feel for someone who doesn’t get to know God the Father…albeit intentionally or by circumstance.
That’s our primary goal as youth ministry leaders: to lead young people to an encounter with God the Father. We may do good relational ministry. We may have awesome small group discussions. We may model cutting-edge social media initiatives. We may make professional promo videos. And we may perform the most memorable skits and play the craziest games.
But all of these are for naught if we end up pointing young people to ourselves instead of to God. It’s not about us; it’s about God. Yet we sometimes forget this.
It’s heart-breaking for a young person to come to your youth ministry events regularly yet not know who God is. Not know all the great and mighty things God has done for him. Not know how much God loves him.
Thus, let us all renew our commitment to enable young people to get to know and love God.
Before it’s too late.