In fact, that’s why I became a youth minister. I knew it would be tough, but I was up for the challenge. (And, well, I wanted a gangsta job where I could use a handheld microphone regularly.)
In reality, nine years of youth ministry taught me a lot about myself, but perhaps the biggest thing it showed me is that I’m not as brave as I thought.
If I’m honest, there were a lot of times when…
I never wanted to take my teens to summer camp, especially at Tepeyac. But after seeing the many ways God moved in my teens’ souls, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I request to host a week every year at Tepeyac and am excited to do so again this year. I’d love to have you and your teens join us for one of our four weeks at Tepeyac. Would you consider joining us? It could be one of the most transformational decisions you ever make for your youth ministry.
Well, here we are. Every youth minister’s favorite time of year: Spring – when Proms seem to happen every weekend, Spring Breaks feel like they last for the entire semester, and youth group numbers tend to plummet faster than stock in Facebook.
I always dreaded the Spring Semester, and the same questions seemed to always arise:
How come so many teens stopped showing up?
Have we taken a step back since Fall?
Is this really worth it?
The teens and parents don’t seem to appreciate all my work. Is it time to quit?
So when it came to looking fashionable as a youth minister, I had no hope. I had no desire to grow a goatee, wouldn’t let skinny jeans within a mile of my closet, and wouldn’t wear plaid if I were paid to play on the PGA Tour.
As a youth minister, this evidently put me in the minority. I even used to get stared at during training conference by groups of youth ministers who appeared to be thinking, “What’s wrong with you? You’re not one of us.”
Praise God for my car! And even though it was held together with a couple clothespins and some paperclips, it served as a great mobile storage unit. Where else was I supposed to keep those buckets of Red Vines before the big Fall Kickoff? And while towing around ten boxes of Bibles for Confirmation Candidates in my trunk for two months didn’t do much for my miles per gallon, it was just more convenient.
So as adults we find another way to celebrate the season: Christmas parties. Unfortunately, most Christmas parties are best described as a bunch of adults standing around and talking to each other while eating cheese and crackers and trying to avoid that one crazy friend who drove up in a mini van decorated with “antlers” and a “Rudolph” nose.
And then of course, you also have to deal with the fact that you know twelve different people throwing a party, but there’s only four weekends in December before Christmas.
It’s at this moment, when I praise God for Youth Ministry.
The very best Christmas parties I’ve ever been to were at youth groups.
The biggest problem with an app like this is that it allows teens, especially those that are tempted to engage in sexting, to perpetuate a false identity online while also giving them a false sense of security. Once a picture is taken and texted to another person it can’t just “disappear forever.” The receiver of the message could take a screenshot of their phone or take a picture of their phone with another device. Plus, there’s the reality of it going through Snapchat’s servers as well.
So, how do these stories relate?
Maybe it’s because we’re all God’s children. Perhaps it has to do with being obedient to our Father. Or maybe the love parents have for their kids is similar to the unconditional love God has for all of us.
As a parent of a 7-month old now, I can definitely say that last one is true. I’ll do anything to bring my son closer to Christ, and I hope that one day, there is a youth minister with enough guts to do the same.
But for some reason it does, and all of us youth ministers are better off for it. After all, when teens know the rules and follow the rules, it allows them to enter into the most important rule of all: to keep an open heart for the weekend.
And if it takes SpongeBob to get that across, well, so be it.
As a youth minister, I spent a lot of time on a variety of important things: planning, relational ministry, playing with the little toy that came in the Life Support Box. There was always something to keep me busy.
Unfortunately, I also spent a good portion of time doing things that didn’t matter, like complaining.