Beyond Expectations

This past week I have had the opportunity to work with our students in the south east region of the US. Every year we do an event called TNT@TNU which brings about 2,000 teens to Nashville Tennessee to participate in worship services and competitions that showcase the talents and gifts that God has given them. The theme overall for this event is "From God For God" meaning that we want to take the gifts that we have received from God and use them for God. This event promotes a type of kingdom mindedness that is difficult to find anywhere else.
This was my ninth TNT@TNU, three as a high school student and the last six I have spent working the event. Over the past nine years I have developed expectations for what is to happen each year. Most of the time my expectations were met and we called it a success. This year however the event has gone Beyond my expectations. With record attendance, being a part of young people devoting their lives to the ministry, and watching my own district finally rally around each other to promote and encourage one another, I would have to say that this in fact was the Best TNT EVER!!!
I am very proud to be part of an event like TNT and to also be associated with Trevecca Nazarene University. TNT was a big part of why I followed the path I did. I made friends with people at TNT that I am still calling my best friends to this day. In fact one was my best man in my wedding and we are youth pastors together. I am writing this article because I want to say something about TNT and other events like it.

I know sometimes events like this can seem expensive or may force students to miss school and other important activities. These things are important but, When it comes to TNT@TNU the chance for a young person to encounter God and find Godly friends that they may keep close to them for the rest of their lives far out-ways the small sacrifices that we make like an extra 20 dollars for a hotel room or missing a day of school while we are going for perfect attendance or even the sport they happen to be playing at the time. One of the things that blew me and plenty of others away this week was seeing the commitment to God a group of our teens had that had come to TNT. Saturday night at the closing ceremonies of TNT there was a group of students dressed in prom clothes sitting with the rest of our students. When asked why they were dressed that way, they told us that they were missing their own prom to be here with us for TNT.

As a youth pastor it isn't my desire to see my students miss out on important things in life, but I absolutely love when students are able to stand up an say "my commitment to God is the most important thing in life". These students went way beyond my expectations. For a generation of young people like this, I am truly thankful. I am also thankful for the opportunity to be one of the people God has allowed to influence them, to have meaningful relationships with them and to lead them in this Christian walk.

Until Next Time -Just Jon


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