She used to come, at least for a while.
I can’t remember her name, but the look she gave me the last time I saw her sneaks up on me from time to time. She was, after all, nondescript. A sophomore, I think, with few friends. She came to our youth group for a few months. Sat in the middle and seemed to moderately enjoy herself. But she didn’t know any student leaders (and they tend to find ways to be busy to stay together regardless) or even talk to any of the more noticeable groups that dominated our attention. She just sat there, maybe with a couple of friends, week after week, and then she’d leave. Finally she stopped coming.
What was her name again?
When I allow myself to be honest, my ministry has reflected an uncomfortable paradox throughout my ministry to kids. On one hand, I’ve found great solace, identity, and even “spiritual encouragement” (an all-too-often euphemism for those times I feel good because I have been successful but find a way to locate my euphoria within the rubric of being “blessed”) from numerical growth. On the other, for every incremental increase in group numbers, a few more kids find themselves left out of the gift of our incarnational attention. The bigger we grow, or during those seasons when the program is cooking, it is so easy for us to focus on those kids who are excited, and involved, and known. Then there are The Invisibles. They add to the numbers, and even sometimes the energy, but, let’s face it, they all too often get lost in the hype.
Remember that non-descript woman who approached Jesus (Mark 5)? “If I can just touch his clothes, she thought …” But even when she touched him and was healed, she wasn’t. And Jesus knew! Ever pondered that little phrase? Jesus “felt the power go out of him.” He knew her …
“Who touched my clothes?” Where are you, you who are desperate to stay invisible? Your healing isn’t done; my work is not yet finished with you. Come, make yourself known, because I already know you … and … I love you.
What was her name again? That invisible girl, who slipped in and out of vision and ministry and calling. I know one thing, Jesus knows her name.