Lessons Learned by Caryn Schierbeek


I feel so much has happened in the past two months. I cannot even begin to describe even the highest of highs and lowest of lows we’ve experienced. During this time, I’ve been reminded to lean on God during all seasons. In the book of Hosea it says, “I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot me.” (Hosea 13:5-6)

This isn’t a new concept. I believe it is in our human nature to run to God when we are in need and to try and sustain ourselves when we are “satisfied.” I’m reminded of the importance of asking for God’s help and strength in tough times but also thanking and praising him in the good.

Here are some things I’ve learned as I’ve been walking with God and people in ministry.

Ministry is Sacrifice.

Humanly, there are many days I think ministry is about me. When I have to move my schedule around so I can pick a kid up from school, or change my hair appointment so I can make it to ChickFilA andschool lunches, or get a pair of pink pants ruined because the off-brand whipped cream pie got on them, I think to myself, “What about me!” (Embarrassing, but true.) Other days are lonely without being around people in my stage of life, or draining because I’m sitting in my car with a girl who is crying and telling me her darkest life secrets. While the sacrifices are real (some more real than others), I also can’t overlook the fact that all of my days are filled with seeing others love each other well and seeing God move in miraculous ways. Ministry isn’t for me. It is for the Kingdom. Thank you, God, for allowing me to be in a front row seat to what you are doing.

Ministry is Celebration.

We get to celebrate 4 kids coming to Club and 19 kids coming to Campaigners in the same week. We get to celebrate the leader who gives the talk for the first time without sweating through their crew neck. We get to celebrate new boyfriends and girlfriends, basketball wins, new cars, mended friendships, awkward moments, SNOW DAYS, and also tiny “aha-Jesus!” moments. There are also huge “aha-Jesus!” moments like hearing a kid speak candidly and honestly about what a scripture passage meant to them. Thank you, God, for the Celebration!

Ministry Takes People.

Ministry requires the participation of people. These people are kids, college friends, college volunteers, parents, school faculty, YL colleagues, community members, Committee members, and donors. Everyone is important and impactful. Also, don’t discount the quiet people. They’re often the ones who think deeply and pray earnestly. Thank you, God, for providing the friends I have.

There Are Constant Voices Around You…God’s Voice Should be Loudest. Ministry Takes Prayer.

When in ministry, people will always have something to say to you. A lot is good. A lot is bad. People tend to see where you’re not doing ministry more than where you are. It is easy to want to be everywhere and do everything. Taking the time to pray about where you are and where God wants you to be is essential to avoiding burnout and stress. Thank you, God, for your calling and guidance.

Ministry Introduces You to New People.

For many of us it is easy to stay around people who are exactly like us. Who hold the same beliefs, who have the same sense of humor, who all shop at Target and Costco, etc. In the short time I’ve been in South Bend, I’ve met many people who are nothing like me. For one, most Indiana residents drive about 10mph slower than me on average. But seriously, I’ve met believers and non-believers, the “haves” and the “have-nots,” parents with jobs and those without, straight kids and gay kids, kids who love me and kids who think I’m creepy, cheerleaders and athletes, artists and outliers, brown kids and white kids. While it’d be easy to rule out those who are “different,” I wholeheartedly believe God has a heart for all these people. I also believe that my friends and I are called to show God’s heart to these kids and adults by loving them; not ostracizing them or condemning them — even the slow drivers. God showed his concern for the city of Ninevah in the book of Jonah “Ninevah has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I be concerned for such a great city?” (Jonah 4:11) South Bend has around 101,000 people living in it, and I think God is concerned for all of us.

Right now we are praising God for…

  • Our adults who support us through prayer, food, and opening their homes to us.
  • For all our high school friends.
  • For Jake and Paul who joined the Adams team.
  • All our leaders at Clay and Adams.
  • For Chris and Katie who are leading the Clay team.
  • Brad and the YL Committee.

Right now we are asking God for…

  • Discernment when loving our high school friends in really difficult circumstances.
  • Additional adult support from all communities in South Bend.
  • Adult and college-aged volunteer leaders.
  • Around $3,000 in additional funding for Caryn.

Friends, I am so grateful for all of you, and I’m excited that I get to share the many ways God is shaping me and this ministry!


Caryn Schierbeek is a Young Life Staff Associate II in Michiana. Her genuine love for “every kid” can be witnessed in how she lives her life. Hopefully, you caught a glimpse of her heart in this fantastic post. Follow her at carynwiersyounglife.wordpress.com!

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