I have a little box in my office. It sits in the corner, mostly unnoticed. I only open it every few months or so, but it has been one of the keys to staying encouraged throughout the years. In this box I keep an assortment of notes, cards, and other little scraps of paper that I’ve collected over the years. These are small reminders, tiny altars, that remind me of what God is up to in me, through me, and around me.

There are thank you notes from students describing a trip that changed their lives. There’s the pieces of notebook paper where I wrote back and forth with a teenager about what Christianity is… and the final piece where he decided to become a Christ follower. There are cards from parents, and others in the church that offered spontaneous encouragement at one time or another.

Not everyting is so cheery. There’s the notes from students who felt they couldn’t go on. And lists of some of the things that our students face, depression, abuse, cutting, bullying, abandonment… it’s important to remember those things too.

Whenever I am having one of those days that makes me question if I have what it takes. Whenever I have on of those days where my plans fell apart, or a student walks away from God, or a parent is angry, or a youth leader bails, or I just feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels… those are the days I get out the little box in my office. I read through the notes at random. Each slip of paper tells me one of two things, why I do what I do, and how often it makes a difference despite all the bumps along the way.

I have a little box in my office. It sits in the corner, mostly unnoticed. And it works every time.

How do you stay encouraged? How do you remember the important milestones in your ministry?


This post was inspired by “Youth Ministry Topics You Should Cover” on www.studentministry.org

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  1. I have an encouragement file just like yours. On days I wonder why I’m doing it or whether I’m actually making a difference, I just read all the personal notes, cards, letters and emails I’ve received over the years. It’s such an encouragement!

  2. I have a file in my office of the same stuff. I often forget about it until I really need it. Some of those notes are years old, from students who are now adults and still loving Jesus and making a difference for the sake of his Kingdom. Great reminder, here.

  3. Pingback: How To: Write An Encouraging Note To A Teenager | LukeTrouten.com

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