At first, I felt helpless. I felt so inadequate, certain that futzing with the finicky washing machine for my shift couldn’t do anything for these individuals. I felt like all I could do was to be there, and that being there wasn’t enough.
Then I realized that “being there” is the hallmark of relational ministry. Everything we do in youth ministry stems from building relationships by listening, sharing, and engaging in the lives of these teenagers. Before the ministry of planning a Life Night, of collecting permission slips for a retreat, of attending committee meetings, or of documenting Confirmation paperwork comes the ministry of presence.