Every Christian in your church loves teenagers. They have to, they’re Christians, and Christians love each other. In fact, you’ve probably heard them declare their love:
“Oh, those crazy kids in the youth group…we love ‘em in the Lord!”
Possible Translation: We don’t have a choice. We have to love them because they are part of God’s family, too.
“We love our teenagers so much we built them a youth room.”
Possible Translation: We built you your own space so you won’t mess ours up.
And while it’s noble for folks to will themselves to “love” the students in your youth group, and building a youth room is a wonderful way to resource the youth group, there is actually a better way to truly love teenagers: LIKE THEM!
Don’t tolerate them. Don’t try to change them. Don’t preach at them. Don’t use them. Like them. Really like them.
Teenagers need adults in their lives who understand they are insecure and like them anyway.
Teenagers need adults in their lives who recognize they are gonna make a bunch of stupid mistakes and like them anyway.
Teenagers need adults in their lives who understand the wacky adolescent development process they are going through and like them anyway.
Teenagers need adults in their lives who know they are gonna doubt their faith and struggle to follow Jesus and like them anyway.
Teenagers need adults in their lives who love them, and want to walk alongside them on their Jesus journey, and one of the most important roles of a youth worker is to help build a team of those types of adults.
But, If you want to build a team of youth workers who love teenagers, start by finding people who like them too.
Thanks for liking students!