If you want to be in youth ministry for the long haul, you must learn to have fun with students. I get the fact that you have administrative tasks to get done and program stuff to get done, but taking a break to have fun keeps it all in perspective.
If you’re not careful, you can easily get caught up into being task focused and results driven. Now, I’m not saying focusing on tasks, or wanting certain results is wrong. Sometimes, we get the pressure from leadership to focus on the bottom line. But what I am saying is when those become primary, spending time with students becomes a hassle. You will find yourself saying I don’t have time for that, and students will become an inconvenience. And at the end of it all, you will be seeking to serve or work elsewhere. Now, that maybe a bit extreme, but to be honest, it’s not far from the truth.
Having fun with students helps you keep their stage of life in the right perspective, especially as you minister to them. Let’s look at 1 Timothy 4:12 –
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (NIV)
I think we take 1 Timothy 4:12 to mean that students should be like us. When in fact, I believe it means for them to be confident in who they are in their current stage of life. Sometimes we can use that verse to put standards on students that we don’t even live up to. I believe as we get older we naturally understand less about the students we minister to, therefore, we have to be more intentional with having fun and getting to know them.
Here are few other things that may get in the way of you remembering to have fun with students:
- You become critical about students behavior or sin.
- You get caught up in the success or failure of the ministry. You begin to care more for the students who are not there, than the ones who are showing up every week.
- Your own life is not where you want it to be, and the ministry begins to suffer because of your own personal struggles.
On the flipside, here are a few ways I believe we can remember to have fun with students from time to time:
- Remember what it was like when you were their age.
- Remember, students are in the process of becoming, so know that God is not finished with them.
- Remember, they are on God’s timing; not ours.
Hope it helps,
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