It bothers me when you tell me, “I’m not a real youth worker.” Are you kidding? You set up and tear down, prepare small group lessons, and pick up kids and drop them off. You take “vacation” time so that you can trek with us to camp or on a missions trip. You give up Saturdays and evenings all the while telling me that you are doing this for the Lord. Your service humbles me causing me to make sure that I am in ministry for all the right reasons. You give from your own resources, have the ability to be excited when I am tired and organize me when I am frazzled. You are absolutely every bit a youth worker, and central to the success of all that happens here.
So when you hang around and think, “Am I REALLY vital to this situation?” The answer is unabashedly yes.
I know I ask a lot of you. You feel inadequate and ill equipped. Can I tell you a secret? So do I. ALL THE TIME! No matter how long I am in this, I don’t know all the answers. Many times you know more than I do! You are not too young or too old. I don’t have things in “common” with every student either. Our students need those of us who are willing to come in and allow them to know what Jesus looks like. Since you are his reflection, they need you too. They need to hear the story only YOU can tell.
I am sorry for the times that I don’t tell you that you are not an “option,” but a “necessity.” Not only am I unable to do everything, I’m just not good at it. I am sorry I don’t say thank you every time you walk in. I can be desperate for help, and can so easily take advantage of your presence. Too often I complain about you without leading you well.
Please don’t give up on us yet. The students and I need you, even when we act like we don’t. Please tell us when you don’t feel “wanted” and tell me when I am too busy to help you. When you don’t “show up,” it throws everything off. Not only do I have to readjust the leadership role I have given you, but we miss you. The students who act like they “hate” you are the ones that long for you when you aren’t there.
I promise to guide you, to be better at communicating, to bring training, and to remind you of the vision that the Lord has cast for this ministry. Most of all, I promise to care for you and get to know you. I will stop and remember you are my greatest asset.
I have decided I do not like this “title” at all. It simply doesn’t fit. In a day and age where “service” is a requirement to graduate High School or a job incentive, it connotes a deposit, while you make and investment.
Therefore from this point forward I will call you,
You are the reason a generation of students is being transformed in Christ. Never forget that.
Jesus loves you. Student’s love you. I love you.
Your Youth Pastor