The Best Of Me

One of our graduating seniors asked me earlier this year why I’m in youth ministry. There are a lot of answers to that question, and any of them could be the reason and all of them are very much a part of the truth.

But the most honest answer is this: nothing has ever asked for more from me, welcomed all of me, brought out the best in me the way that youth ministry does.

I can be a bit of a mess. I’m loud and chaotic. I’m a little intense and a lot competitive. I’m never satisfied where things are at, always looking for, pushing for better. I get too caught up in my feels and I sometimes talk faster than I think. I’m deeply loyal to my people and I will always fight for the things I believe in. I’m resilient, I don’t let things go and I will always keep trying, keep showing up.

Youth ministry has embraced all of me. You and your families have welcomed and accepted all of me, even the parts that are rough around the edges. This calling, this job, this place, these teenagers have pushed me, stretched me, molded me over these first four years of my time here, and I have learned so much. The Justin has become my home, you all have become like family, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to discover my voice and place in ministry, to shape those rough edges, to take on new challenges, to grow as a person and to prepare for this next chapter.

Beginning in August, my friend, partner and mentor in ministry, and force of nature Kat Bair will be moving on to her next adventure and I am excited to be taking over as the Director of Youth Ministries here at First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth. I am so grateful for Kat, for taking a chance on me, for helping me grow as a pastor and as a person, for putting up with my shenanigans and most of all, for her friendship. I am going to miss our morning coffee and chit chats, our happy hour beers, going to kids events and on trips together, and I would not be ready to take this next step in ministry and into leadership without her. Kat, I love you and I am going to miss you dearly, but I am so excited for you and Andrew and everything that comes next for y’all.

As much as we would like to take credit for it, Kat and I have had a minimal impact in shaping what this community is and feels like to be a part of. Rev. Casey Orr, former member of FUMCFW Youth Ministries staff and our Revolution Weekend speaker this year, talked about how the legacy of this ministry and the Justin is one that is passed from teenager to teenager, senior to 6th grader over the years. Casey talked directly to our teenagers, telling them that they were the ones who make this place what it is: a place where everyone was welcome, where there was always room for one more, where you belonged just because you showed up, where you were safe and where you knew you were seen and known and loved for exactly who you are. There’s something really special, almost magical about it – that class after class, year after year, youth director after youth director, the Justin has been the Justin, this community has been this community, the legacy of this place has been passed along by our beloved teenagers. Casey, Martin, Andrew, Kat and now I have all helped steward it, guide it, shape it and added pieces of ourselves along the way, but the legacy – and this place – is theirs.

Things will be different this fall – after all, I’ll be a dad come September, and how I do this job is going to have to change so I can be the best dad and husband to my family. Change is always inevitable, but the Justin will still be the Justin. I’m so excited to step into whatever comes next alongside all of you and to have the opportunity to take on this next challenge alongside the rest of the youth ministries staff.

I’m going to be honest, the reality that we don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like is both anxiety-inducing and exciting, but I believe that neither the known or the unknown are ever reasons to not do something – we run with big ideas and take big risks and try new things and reach out into the unknown because we believe that that is where you find things that are wonderful and beautiful and unique. Sometimes it takes a little faith, and a little luck, but God’s call is always forward, always into the next adventure, always into the unknown.

Alex and I are so grateful for your friendship, your community and your love. We feel unbelievably lucky that we have the opportunity to raise our family here and for all of you to be part of that journey. I am incredibly excited to be a dad, and it’s going to challenge me and push me and ask me to grow in ways I never expected. This place has always asked for all of me, and it still will, but how that plays out day-to-day, week-over week will be different than it has in the last four years. No matter what that looks like, I cannot imagine this place still not bringing out the best in me.

To our teenagers: I love you and I am so proud of you. You make doing this job fun and worth doing. I’m so excited that I get to keep walking alongside you as you discover the people you were created to be, and I hope my kid is a little bit like you.

Much love,

Matt Britt

“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.” (Patrick Overton, The Leaning Tree)


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