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how do you spot potential?

All right, it’s time for me to make a comeback on WordPress! I’ve struggled to recover my writing momentum after a five-day hiatus and being away in Cameron Highlands over the last few days didn’t help my cause. (It was a great break though!) Nonetheless, I shall give myself an easier head-start with a shorter entry tonight to break the silence.

Since PIERCE ended, I’ve had youths indicating their interests to be emcees, cell mentors, ushers and basically to serve in R-AGE. Of course, this delights me (and my shepherds) to no end! More significantly, this morning, I’ve had the privilege of welcoming the latest member to my beloved GII leadership family – NC! She shared with me her journey with God enroute to the DoYouLoveMe cell group and I just sat there at Ya Kun, and acknowledged the good work that the Lord is doing in her life. Her addition to the GII Shepherds means that “Plug & Play” will now be a monthly feature in the R-AGE @ GII services. (And everyone says “HURRAY!”) I can’t wait for the first installment in July!

I’d also like to record my answer to her question – “How do you spot potential in a young person?” I thought about it for a short moment and this was my response to her.

First and foremost, before you even identify any potential, you must get to know who the person is and this takes time and effort. The young people in this day and age are generally less likely to initiate approaching you, hence it’s important that you take the first step to be acquainted with them. Without any prior (or basic) knowledge of their background, personality and unique talents, you’d never get an idea of who they can become and how they can contribute to God’s kingdom.

Once that is established, it’s really about observing them. Again, this takes time and effort and most people write youths off very quickly, before they get a chance to express what they’re capable of and show you a glimpse of who they can become. I always believe that if you stick around long enough and are regular enough, young people will open up to you by the sheer virtue that you are ever-present; I’d like to believe that it’s never about charisma, but about consistency. No excuses for the introverted phlegmatic.

Now, I think I have an almost “blind” belief in young people because I trust God. I know He’s in charge of the process and I believe that He is in control of the outcome. Everyone is different and every person will become a unique jigsaw in the masterpiece of God; while some may have more significant roles and are more active than others, there is no one who is more or less important than the other – that’s my conviction, at least. So I tell myself that all I can do as a leader in authority, is to sponsor opportunities for young people to reach their potential, just like how my mentors have done so for me. I’m not afraid of making mistakes – even errors in judgment – and I think this helps the youths under me to feel that the pressure is off them. I always tell my youths that the only thing I expect them to do is to make mistakes – because I did and screwing up did me a world of wonders. Of course, I’ll try to prevent it, but I do not strive to stop it from happening. Some walls are meant to be crashed into; I always believe that God uses every single experience for His glory.

Often, I ask God to give me a vision of the “developed state” of the young person or leader that I am journeying with. I take a step of faith to believe that whatever I envision, I will play a part in helping that young person to realise his or her potential. The sense of satisfaction I enjoy when I see a youths soar in their capacities and capabilities is beyond what money can buy and what the world can offer. In an almost divine manner, God has been faithful to me – for most of the youth leaders and youths that I’ve worked with, they do eventually turn out to be what I’ve envisioned them to be. I thank God for giving me a “radical audacity” to dream and to see beyond what others can see – sometimes I even have the privilege of seeing beyond what the young person I’m journeying with can see. Don’t get me wrong – I’m far from being a soothsayer – I just try to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and act upon what is prompted in my heart.

Of course, there are some youths who didn’t quite develop the way that I had hoped that they would. Did I despair? I used to. But the older I get, the more I learn to trust God, because I know His plans for that young person are far greater than mine. God’s detours are better than Man’s direction. I’m reminded time and again that God is God, and I’m just a privileged mentor. I’m a risk-taker though, and I love to see young people lead young people. To an extent, I find myself in the process of lowering the average age of leaders in R-AGE and somehow, that gives me an immense sense of gratification – more than half of my key leaders are barely 21 years old!

After I finished my breakfast appointment with NC, I had lunch with SY and I remember telling him how he carries the potential to be one of the pillars of the cell mentors corps. He shared with me his keenness to take on the role of a service emcee (which thrilled me greatly!) and I told him that I can’t wait to retire from being an emcee because it’s such a powerful sight for him (and his peers) to take ownership of the ministry.

As if it’s not obvious enough already, R-AGE @ GII is on the threshold of revival. I feel it!

youth camp update #1 – mark the dates.

One of the items I’ve been praying about throughout the course of my week-long MC was the theme and direction for the G2 Youth Camp this coming June. Last night, at 2am, the Spirit began transmission. And I was tired – my body said, “Sleep”. But my eyes refused to shut; the Spirit downloaded one idea after another into my still very alert and awake mind. I couldn’t risk forgetting the vast amount of information, so I climbed down from my loft bed, took out my notebook and started scribbling. This is the result of the cognitive diarrhoea:

Of course I've blurred it. Private and confidential and highly top secret!

Duh, of course it's blurred - this scribbling is classified top secret!

It was nearly 3am when I was nearly done with it and I slept soundly after that. My alarm was set to ring at 7:30am but at 7:25am I was already out of bed, raring to go. I didn’t know how and where I found that vigour. On the way to work, I couldn’t wait to transfer the scrawl into a working document and to share it with RY (who approved it immediately!) and my G2 Shepherds in the evening. I texted HY to share my excitement, of course.

HY: “Honestly I don’t know how you do it, sleeping so late, waking up so early, but still so full of energy! Haha. Amazing!”

I replied: This is obviously not my flesh. I guess this is what you call… Being joyful in the Lord for that gives you strength? So do find your source of strength in God.

HY: “I learnt this from Benny Ho… You’re a true example of a man who is very, very busy, whose heart and inner soul is well rested in God.”

To a certain extent, I gained a better understanding in this application of Nehemiah 8:10b. When you find that deep, inner joy in the Lord, it strengthens you from within in a way sleep or food doesn’t. I was filled with a wave of gratitude for the successful operation and subsequent trouble-free recovery – that gave me joy too. Finishing the chicken scratch on my notebook filled me with joy too. I felt like a renewed man today!

Anyway, this year’s G2 Youth Camp will blow your mind. That’s a promise. In my mind’s eye, I see my G2 Shepherds nodding their heads away in agreement. Why the confidence? Because the Spirit inspired. So mark the dates, young ones. 15 Jun, Tue – 17 Jun, Thu. Three full days and three full nights of intense insanity. Trust me, you do not want to miss this camp.

The theme verse and camp theme will be released in the coming days. Watch this space!

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