In reflection we can see children and youth ministry as a transitional work. We are pouring out into young people who are rapidly passing by us through their childhood journey of changing and challenging life discoveries. The seasons all go by so fast.
In what seems like just a long blink, we turn around and find the little toddler we helped to sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ has flown through middle school into high school, is now taller than we are and is making plans for college and beyond. Having watched many children progress through the years (including five of my own) I can say these life stages seemed to have passed in a flash.
As Youth Ministry leaders and as parents the hope is that our efforts through all of the changes and challenges helped them grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:18) in preparation for adulthood. Ultimately we long that they replicate the same in a future generation.
Not everyone outside of Youth Ministry may realize how much effort is spent in preparing a teaching, finding a game they’ll like, organizing youth group gatherings and events, resolving conflicts, listening to heartbreaks, finding funds, setting out food, dealing with drama (real and perceived), wondering about who showed up and who didn’t, what parents are thinking, cleaning up, praying and more. Then we “rinse and repeat” as this is just one week and the cycle continues. The incredible value of these efforts cannot be underestimated.
Then came my latest “Aha Moment” in a sudden realization and recognition that Youth Ministry is not just about youth. Looking up from the current flow of efforts came my awakening to how blessed I have been to meet and share this journey with some of the most amazing people on earth. It is a remarkable thing to know so many adult leaders who are driven and joyfully devoted to the generations that follow. Youth Ministry leaders are those who find deep fulfillment investing in the future of our faith and world through the lives of young people.
Connecting with these other Youth Ministry leaders in my own church as well as at retreats, conferences, phone calls and more has become a blessing within itself. Seeing their dedication, commitment and hard work served in love of young people inspires me that another generation will rise up in Christ to carry the message of HIS love on. Thank you to everyone who serves our GOD this way. I feel a kindred spirit of faith, family and friendship that our investment in the transitional is actually eternal.
Faith, Family and Friends: our souls long to drink deeply of them and they are best enjoyed from a vessel of love. May these words inspire current leaders on, and the next generation to pick up where we leave off.