Friday, March 07, 2008

Is Youth Ministry Worth It?

Someone came by this blog the other day off a random search "Is youth ministry worth it?" I think I know how you're feeling, friend...
I remember days of questioning, times of doubt. There were days when the other church staff just seemed to have nothing but criticism. On other days, you catch someone on the Youth Leadership Team smoking behind the high school. The lessons you spent hours preparing are not making any impact whatsoever, and the deep, spiritual devotional you had planned for the Junior High teens was messed up by one joke and the ensuing laughter. Nothing seems to be working.
On top of that, your own spiritual walk feels weak. The only Bible study you do is for Sunday morning class. You've spent three straight weekends in a row with teenagers (forsaking your days off) and nobody seems to notice your extra effort. And besides that, only TWO kids showed up for those events!
And then it happens...
  • One of the teens who used to be in your youth ministry calls you just to chat and tells you how much you meant to him.
  • A parent sends you a kind email, overjoyed that her daughter spoke to her (with more than the typical "I dunno") about this morning's meaningful class.
  • The most apathetic, uninvolved teen calls your house and, in tears, tells you he wants to be saved and give his life to Christ.
  • You are laughing harder than ever with your teens at an unplanned youth event, and realize that it's one of your best youth ministry moments.
  • One teenager shows up to an event. Instead of your normal discouragement, you decide to have a great time with that individual. You talk about things you would never talk about in a huge group of people.

So, is youth ministry worth it? YES.

Even though you're in a difficult situation? YES.

If I had left youth ministry when those questions arose, I never would have learned the lessons I now cherish. Also, I would never have experienced youth ministry AFTER kids have left your youth group and grown up a little.

Sometimes the pay is awful. Sometimes you cannot see results. Sometimes you feel unappreciated. But you are fighting a battle that is WORTH IT! You are fighting for the souls of teens, some of which their parents have given up fighting for.

And the best of are on God's team!


Judy said...

I'm glad you have persevered and found all the rewards. I know it's tough, but anything worth doing has rough moments.

I get to see the results of your work almost every Sunday. I think Phil's turning out to be quite a Christian.

Tricia said...

Thanks for the encouraging words. My youth ministry is going through a rough time right now and I have really been struggling with my role, whether to stick with it, etc. and this helps!

Theresa said...

Good for you, Franklin! Sometimes we just have to focus on doing what is right, not always seeing the end result.

I always wonder what happened to many of my kids after they graduate and move on. I can only hope I've made some sort of positive impact, but regardless of whether I get to see it, I press on.

Just throwing this in there - you have a powerful impact not only on the teens but other adults like me. Your pure heart challenges me to move out of my comfort zone and be more like Jesus. Never wonder whether what you're doing matters - it does!

The Hosh said...

KEEP IT UP! It IS worth it! Youth ministry is a pain a lot of the times! KEEP PUSHING!!!

great blog by the way!