Randy Johnson was my youth pastor. He is a legend in Texas youth ministry; he's been doing the job since before I was born. He is prone to blurting our phrases such as "hot tamale!" or "holy moly, Jody!" or "joy to the world!".
This man changed my life, and Ben's life, in countless ways. He and our dear friend/children's minister Sweet basically taught us everything we know about ministering to young people.
Essential lesson #1
The absolute key to a successful youth retreat is........
At our 11th grade retreat, all 25 students wrote every other student a love note. They could not wait to open their bags at the end.
Randy, I have every card I ever received in your youth group. Literally thousands of cards. I treasure them. Even more than ten years after receiving the first notes, I still find myself opening those envelopes and re-living the affirmation when I'm at my parents' house sometimes.
Thank you for teaching me how to love teenagers.