Warning! This is as shocking as a God who is willing to die for the same people who nailed Him to the cross, a.k.a. you and me.
If you are not willing to die for your youth, either:
A) Quit Youth Ministry
B) Get on your knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament
If your heart is pulled towards A) giving up and quitting, don’t do it without prayerful discernment. In fact, you are forbidden, yes forbidden, to quit without first sharing the reason why with your youth minister, your priest, your confessor, your spiritual director, who ever that person is who knows you and your spiritual life and can help you discern God’s will.
If you are in youth ministry the evil one hates it. He wants you to quit. He wants you to feel unworthy. He wants you to feel like a hypocrite. He wants to strike the shepherd so he can scatter the sheep. He wants to poison your youth with sin at the time when they should be discerning and choosing their vocation for life, and he knows you can protect them.
The evil one also tempts you to quit because he knows the transformative effect youth ministry can have on you! Jesus reveals His Sacred Heart to us as we minister to youth. I don’t think we understand God the Father’s love, the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, the power of the Holy Spirit, or our Blessed Mother’s protection until we see the Good News of the Gospel come to life in ourselves and others.
The Good News takes on flesh in your youth. Jesus is present in them and speaks through them to you! How can you understand Jesus’ self-sacrificing love on the cross until your heart breaks for the teen who is going through something painful or makes a poor life choice?
The truth is we don’t understand the cleansing water and blood that flowed from Jesus’ Sacred Heart for you and your teens until you are ready to climb up on the cross next to Jesus and die for them too. Yes, youth ministry can help your youth, but it can also transform your life.
You are forbidden to quit because of fear, despair, your own sinfulness, lack of support, struggles, challenges, or any trick of the evil one. You can only choose to walk away from youth ministry after prayerful discernment with your spiritual leader in a time of consolation when you are sure it is God’s will.
That brings us to B), the second option. If you are not yet willing to die for your youth, get on your knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Beg Jesus to replace your stony heart with His Sacred Heart. Beg our Blessed Mother to reveal to you her love for each of her sons and daughters entrusted to your care.
Honestly, we don’t need any lukewarm youth ministers or Core. That doesn’t mean you can quit. That means Jesus wants to set you on fire! Is your youth group thriving spiritually? Are your teens pouring themselves out at mass? Do they love the Eucharist and go to adoration? Do they love Scripture and spend time with it daily? Are they serving the community? Do they know their faith? If the answer to any of these is no, look in the mirror first.
Where do your teens need to grow? That is probably exactly where you need to be set on fire as well.
Your teens proclaim the Gospel to you! Listen to them. Get to know their story. So many of them are suffering, hurting, or just don’t know how great God’s love is for them. They need you. They need you to be Christ for them. They need you to be willing to die for them.
If you aren’t ready to die for them yet, do not be afraid! Keep close to the Eucharist, keep praying, keep walking with your teens, and they will teach you.