Root canals, reading The Summa Theologica, crossfit WOD, and youth ministry. What do they all have in common? At first glance, not very much, they may seem as a series of random tasks. Some may seem as difficult and time-consuming tasks. While to others these tasks are quite necessary and satisfying.
Not that many willing volunteers are lining up to have free root canals. But when it comes to a difficult challenge there is a lack of willing volunteers. It takes a willing heart filled with a desire to get them done.
Last year I was giving the task to lead our youth group in our congregation. This is after other potential leaders got offered the opportunity to lead the group. But many turned it down. One of the main reasons giving is that many considered working with youth as a difficult task.
In our church, the perception is that one of the toughest groups to engage and lead is our youth.
It’s understandable, youth can at times be a troublesome bunch to engage in spiritual matters. But it is nothing out of the ordinary. Leading any group in a ministerial role always poses some leadership challenges.
Learning to interact & connect with unique personalities is one of them. In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John Maxwell states that “When it comes to working with people, the heart comes before the head.”
As a leader you have to learn to connect with people on a personal level. It is in those moments that you connect with them that offer the most rewarding experiences. I have found that working in youth ministry has been very satisfying.
I Love Youth Ministry
Here are the five reasons why I love to work in youth ministry.
1. It provides an opportunity for Personal Mentorship. Your leadership role provides a great opportunity to make a positive impact in the life of a youth. Share your firsthand experience and advice when it comes to your relationship with God.
They are at pivotal point in their faith walk. They will benefit greatly from some helpful guidance. But more importantly your mentorship can help them live out their faith in a positive way.
2. It sharpens your apologetics skills. Listen to the questions that your youth are asking. During our youth bible study class I realized that they had some tough questions. But surprisingly they were the similar ones that I had as a youth early on in my christian faith. Questions that I desperately needed answered.
About eight years ago I started on a personal journey to study apologetics. Little did I know that all the time invested reading theology and philosophy would eventually pay off. Youth ministry has allowed me to put my apologetics skills into practice. Primarily what the word has call us to do: “And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15 NLT)
3. It provides opportunity to train future theologians. The first thing that I did after taking over the youth program was launch a weekly bible study class. I was already on a mission to further develop my systematic theology. Youth are great theologians. They have some awesome theological enquiries.
Leading a youth bible class allows you to really dig into some important theological issues.
4. It challenges you to clearly define your Christian worldview. I teach our youth group twice a week . This helps me understand what worldviews the youth get exposed to. It helps me get a glimpse of the thoughts that challenge their Christian faith.
The response ‘because the bible tells me so’ just doesn’t cut it.
They are seriously pondering the truth and validity of the beliefs that their parents instilled in them. They want legitimate responses. Starting a youth apologetics program not only addresses that need. It helps develop their Christian world view. And in the process it also strengthen yours.
5. You experience the joy of watching them grow in their faith. It’s personally satisfying to watch those you mentor show signs of growth in their Christian faith. It’s exhilarating to see youth develop a genuine and passionate commitment to follow Christ. To be a part of that is one of the most rewarding things that youth ministry has to offer.
I had mixed emotions when I took ownership of the youth department. At the beginning I was somewhat apprehensive due to my lack of experience in youth ministry. The other side of me was super excited. Deep down inside I was always passionate to work with youth. I have a genuine desire to make a positive impact in their lives like my youth pastors did. My hope is that your youth can someday say the same thing about their leader.
Question? What are the reasons that you love working in youth ministry?