In a homily I recently heard, the priest told a story about being challenged to recognize how good things were. He told us that in the busyness of trying to juggle everything it was easy to miss that the Lord’s goodness was abundant. It’s not a stretch to see how easy that is to do in youth ministry.
We know youth ministry is hard work. We can be working on environments for Life Nights, trying to find a chaperone for a retreat, scheduling what events we’ll get to this week, checking in with a teen who seems distant, dealing with parents who still haven’t turned in a copy of their child’s baptismal certificate . . . and we can easily forget to see any goodness in all of it. Ministry becomes less joyful, and the calling from the Lord to serve in this particular way seems less like a calling and more like shackles. In the last few months, the Lord has reminded me of the blessings that come with this particular call.
Because of that, I have been able to better reflect on the goodness of the Lord within youth ministry.
Teens are full of life and energy and enthusiasm. They are filled with hope and dreams for the future. They love and live on a more intense level. Of course, on a bad day, all this emotion can mean a darker side. But for the most part, I’ve been reminded of how friendly, eager, and hopeful teens are. This translates into a ministry that is full of energy and a willingness to try new prayer experiences, meet new people, and build new relationships. It means that as adults, who have safe and healthy relationships with them, we can more easily step into their lives to lead them to Christ.
Core Team Community
Being part of a Core Team is a wonderful opportunity for Christian community. To get to spend time with other adults who love the Lord, love the Church, and have a desire to see teens do the same is such a rare gift. How amazing to have a group of people to pray with and work alongside of for God’s glory. Sure, you might come from all different parts of the country, be different ages, and at different vocational states, but what a blessing to be able to share in one another’s lives and pray with one another. I would guess that most people never experience this great opportunity of Christian community in service of a particular goal.
There are a lot of ministry groups in a parish community, but youth ministry is full of fun. Each week, we get to find creative ways to build community and increase knowledge of faith. What does this equal? Zany games, creative activities, witty skits, interesting stories, and more. Be assured, no other parish group is teaching about holiness with small groups creating the best new superhero, about the sacraments with a scavenger hunt, or about St. Michael with a live boxing match. That doesn’t even cover service activities, retreats, or fun trips.
If you are starting to find ministry a bit more of a curse than a blessing, ask the Lord to open your eyes to see all the goodness and joy in this particular ministry that He has called you to. Spend some time thanking the Lord for the blessings that you have received from serving in this way.