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The Challenge of Youth Ministry

And God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. (Genesis 1:26)

The word “our” is plural. I do believe in the Trinity – the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God – and I think when He said “our image,” He meant “our likeness.” He meant, “Who We are.” And I think that we humans are image-bearers based on that. We are to bear the image of God.

Jesus came down to show us what that image looks like. I think that’s why He came. I think youth workers and youth pastors need to take this very, very seriously.

When kids go to church, they look to one person, their youth pastor. They trust him, or her. Why? Because that’s the person their parents or the church have entrusted them to. When they listen to the youth pastor, these kids are saying, “This person cares for me, and is trying to help me and teach me truth.”

IheartYMSo these pastors have to pray hard. They have to truly ask God, “How can I reflect Christ appropriately? What do I do to bear Your image correctly?” They have to do this because for a lot of these kids, if their youth pastor fails them, they’re done. Based on their age and their time of life, their parents may not identify with them very well. Maybe some of the dads have walked out on them. So if their pastor fails them, they are lost.

When youth pastors seek to learn and understand why they’re here with kids, they realize they aren’t here to simply order pizza and play video games and babysit. They realize they’re here to show their kids the qualities and character of Jesus.

Youth pastors are here to say, “This is Jesus. He is the one we are following. He is the one the disciples followed. The disciples were in their teenage years when they followed Jesus. Did you know that? When Jesus called the disciples, they were young kids, man. They were teenagers. And He entrusted the Gospel to them like He’s entrusting the Gospel to you. And like those disciples, we have to know what we believe in, and we have to stand up for what we believe in, and we have to live what we believe in.”

If you are a youth pastor, then God has gifted you to work with young people. Young people are drawn to you for a reason. You have got to use that gifting to teach them and train them in the appropriate way. You have got to teach them how to love, and you have got to model that in your character, in your integrity, and in your personal life.

Kids are going to be around you all of the time. So they know if you fake it. They know if you’re not real. You have got to allow them to see who you are. Man, you have to love these kids with passion! Show them that your focus is to let them know who they are in Christ.

I know there are also a lot of things that kids show us. See you Monday.

4 thoughts on “The Challenge of Youth Ministry

  1. Great post! Knowing that parents trust the youth pastor or youth workers really helps. It not only helps the workers, but the kids entrusted to them. The fact that I know and trust the youth pastors at our church helps my son know that it is ok to connect in many ways with these people~ not only at youth group, small group or church; but outside these activities~ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as in the community at large.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. Looking for youth ministry pics and this post came up! Thanks for the encouragement. I loved your career as a Giant and I love still hearing you and Flan do commentary. If you ever find yourself out in walnut creek and want to speak to youth, let me know!

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