General Ministry
Aaron Crumbey

Aaron Crumbey(AC) has 10+ years in youth ministry and is now serving as Lead Campus Pastor for Saddleback Church in LA. Loves to encourage by sharing his learnings. @_yoac

FIVE-682_747448aOne of the things I get to do with being in pastoral care is listen to a lot of what’s going on in students lives. And what I’ve come to realize is that youth ministry compensates for a lot. God has us in a space like no other. Never think that what we do is not needed or insignificant. You are supporting parents who desperately need an outside christian influence pointing their children towards Jesus. I’ve met with students and I would end up saying the same things their parents would try and say to them, they just needed to hear it a different way. I really want to encourage you in some of the ways I believe God strategically uses us.

Stability – You may have students who come from dysfunctional homes where the family is relationally unstable in every way. Also, for students life is always changing because they are. How does He use us?

  1. Youth group meetings every week.
  2. Leaders being there for them each week, ready to love on them.
  3. A program with their best interest at heart every week.
  4. We provide a place to go every week that is safe and stable.

A positive environment – You may have students who are growing up in a very negative environment, where it’s hard for them to see any of the good that is going on in their life. Maybe they are growing up in a home where people speak negatively about them directly to them. How does He use us?

  1. We share and model a hope that gets us through the negative in our lives.
  2. Leaders to see and speak the good about them directly to them.
  3. Encouraging lots of fun and laughter. This is the love language of students!! Fun and laughter creates an incredible positive environment.

Attention – We are in an era where parents are busier than ever. And I don’t mean that entirely in a bad way. Some parents have to work two jobs or single parents have to work. Students are craving for someone to ask a follow up question to “how was your day”. How does He use us?

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  1. We listen to things other people would consider silly because we know it’s not silly to them.
  2. We’ve made ourselves available to meet as a mentor or hang as a friend.
  3. We genuinely want to know and will ask the follow up questions.
  4. We make ourselves available to support them however we can.

Unconditional love – You may have students who feel a performance based love at home. How well they do in sports, academics and even with how much they participate in church activities determines the level of love they receive. How does He use us?

  1. We teach, share and model a love that is not performance based. We model a love that says no matter where you come from or what you’ve done or haven’t done you are loved unconditionally.
  2. We create an environment that says all are welcomed and loved not just the students who agree with our religious views. I think a great question every youth group should ask is “if a pregnant girl came to our youth group would she feel loved or judged?” Would she feel judged by our messages or would she feel love and hope?
  3. We teach about Jesus Christ and the unconditional love that He offers to all.

Mentorship – Every year before small groups start we do a meet and greet with the parents and leaders. Last year after we prayed over the year with the parents. I had a Dad approach me and said that he had just became a Christian and was nervous about the questions his son may ask. He felt unequipped to talk about God. It felt so good to help this dad grow in his faith with his son. God used us to mentor a family that is now living for Him. I can give you countless stories of how God has put people in my path to share His wisdom with them. He uses us to mentor students and families.

Know that what we do matters and is desperately needed more now than ever before. God has strategically positioned you to support parents whether they believe in him or not. And of course we are not trying to take the place of parents, but we definitely stand side by side with them in this war the enemy has declared on their children. Would love for you to add more ways God uses us in the lives of students and their families! Let’s encourage one another!!!

hope it helps



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  • Matt says:

    Thanks AC! I love this blog. I’ve seen those opposed to youth ministry and their reasons are because it’s the parents’ role to disciple their children…which is true. But they usually don’t account for all those teens who don’t have Christian parents or loving parents. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • thanks Matt!! I’ve seen God infiltrate families because their kids were able to get connected first. God is using youth ministry to change the lives of students and families. I wanted to highlight that. God is using us!!!!!

  • This is too good! I see all these articles attacking youth ministry, but this sticks out as a strong counter-argument without getting argumentative 🙂 Thanks! for this

    • Thanks Heather,
      My intent was to just encourage not debate. Sometimes we need a remind that what we are doing is desperately needed. And what we are dedicating our lives to is working. God is using youth ministry in awesome ways. Keep caring for and loving on students!!!

  • Christianprincess says:

    Thank you for this article. Amidst the barrage of articles and blogs discussing the problems with youth ministry, it is good to see an article that tells the truth about how God uses us in His Kingdom with youth and families. I love ministry, but sometimes the nagging of is it really beneficial spiritually nags at me. I think the main thing about ministry is that it is service to God and people. As your article pointed out, God allows us to do both through our work as youth leaders and ministers.

    Thank you all for what you do.

    • Thanks,
      I would love to see more material on what’s right with youth ministry. I think at the core of most people doing youth ministry is a heart to simply serve students. Let’s highlight that!!!!!

  • I agree, this article is refreshing to see for those of us down in the trenches of youth ministry. I have had a barrage of parents come to me once they seen the movie divided (If you haven’t seen it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fKsWait2pE). It is essentially a movie promoting to do away with youth ministry all together because family ministry will help the statistics of youth leaving the faith once the graduate. I disagree with that theory and like the author of this article find it very much needed. Youth ministry IS Biblical! Jesus I could consider as the first youth pastor! All of his disciples were youth with the exception of Peter, we see that in scripture where Peter had to pay taxes but the others were considered “children” (Matthew 17:24-27). I’ve been doing youth ministry for 12 plus years and over the last 5 years I can say with my radical change in the way I did things I now have 100% of my youth still active in a church with most involved in ministry somewhere. This of course is only by the power of Christ working as I submit and find creative ways to minister. Good article!

    • Thanks Chris,
      You are on the right track dude!!! I wanted this article to encourage people like you who are in the trenches!!!!!! God is using you in amazing ways, so keep caring for and loving on students. Praying for all of those that are serving the youth in ministry!!!

  • […] typical answer is valid, despite tinges of self-righteousness. Youth work is about providing stability, a positive environment, attention, unconditional love, and …. In short, we youth workers help make human flourishing happen amongst […]

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