At this point in my life and ministry I’ve led thousands of small groups and walked through the teenage years with generations of students.

And I’ve changed.

I’m not the 20 something year old leader anymore. I can’t act like that. I have more years of life and scars to prove it.

Something recently happened with one of the guys in my current high school group. After the immediate smoke cleared, I was thinking about how I handled it. And I realized something, 20 years ago I would have handled it way differently. In fact, I did.

I would have taken it on the chin. I would have been hurt. I would be scrambling to make sense of their decision making. In short, I would have taken a students decision super personally.

By all means, I still care and want the best for the students He trusts me with. Yet, I’m at a place where I see that the story is not always about today. Today affects our story. But, there is a long and complete story to be told just like yours and mine.

If you were to unpack my whole story up to this point in my life I could quickly share with you the highlights. But there are a ton of low lights and challenges that made those highlights even more special. There is also a galaxy worth of grace that’s been given to me that I have never earned. My story is not just about the current reality of today. Neither is yours.

Knowing that as I get older helps me see the big picture for a teenager. Yes, I want them to make wise choices. Yes, I want them to become the person He has them here to be. No, I don’t want them making stupid choices or having the carry the scars of bad decisions with them. But I also know that He is faithful and the story is not just about today.

Perspective is a funny thing. We usually are caught up on our current perspective. I’ve learned in leadership it’s not just about today, but learning from what’s behind and thinking about what’s ahead.

The more I’ve tried to do that in my own life the more I can do that with the students and leaders He trusts me to invest in.

There is a whole story being told. Not just the current chapter. By faith, trust Him to help you and your students see the Author and Perfecter’s plan.