3 Lessons I Learned From Street Kids

Today's GUEST POST is from Sam Werner of Missions Manual. Enjoy. I used to work with street children. I could read, they couldn't. I could do math, they couldn't. I lived in a house, they didn't. None of those things made me better than them by any means. But, it put me in a position where I could help them. It put me in a position to lead.

I loved those kids. I wanted to help them. I wanted them to be off the streets, learning to read and write.

Being a leader means being privileged with special information that you're to pass on to others. Whether it's guiding someone through the alphabet or managing a group of people in a church, leading is a responsibility. It takes humility.

I learned 3 lessons while working with street kids.

1.  Give grace. Those street kids tried hard. They wanted to get off the street, but it's a struggle. They'd run away and come back several times.  I have no idea what they've been through. I can't grasp what their life was really like. They need patience. They need grace. I constantly needed to give them another chance. It's the least I could do.

2.  Have fun. If I set rules, they'd break them. They first need to trust. If I bark rules at them without building some kind of relationship, the rules would be meaningless. They need to know that the rules are for their protection. And they need to trust me that I want to protect them.

One way to build trust is to have fun. Fun helps us let down our guard. We learn to enjoy each other in the midst of having fun - we're become ourselves. It builds relationship when we're ourselves, when we're vulnerable with each other.

3.  It's not about the ministry. Yes, a house to rehabilitate street kids is important. But the kids are more important than the house. If I'd get caught in meaningless errands for the ministry and not spend face time with the kids, I'd lose perspective. People should always come before the ministry.

I've come across a lot of leaders in my life. I try to glean from the good ones and learn from the bad ones. But of all the leaders I've worked under none taught me as much as those kids. I learned that my responsibility as leader in that ministry was more of a privilege than a right. I learned that leading is more about learning, more about serving than anything else.

Sam and his wife, Ana, have served in several missions organizations. YWAM, IHOP, Iris Ministries, and Bethel Church in Redding, California are some of the places they've learned about missions and ministry. God has used them in children's ministry, technology, healing prayer, and in everything practical that comes along with ministry. Their heart is to serve and see God move in the nations.  
Sam shares his experiences on his website MissionsManual.com. You can connect with him on facebook & twitter.
Posted on August 9, 2012 and filed under Guest Posts.