I've been watching my youth intern and his interaction with the teens, and these questions started floating around in my mind.
There are times when I think...
- The best youth ministers would be young, single people. They have lots of time (and not as many bills probably) to devote to teenagers. But then I remember when I was overlooked for one youth ministry position simply because I was not yet married. Unfortunately, there are still some folks who seem to put more trust in someone who is married.
- The best youth ministers would be young, married folks. Notice the common denominator of "young" in these comments? It just seems like as a married person, I have more family issues to deal with sometimes, and don't have as much time to be out on weeknights.
- The best youth ministers would have grown children. Again, perhaps they would have more time to devote to teenagers if there own children were away at college, or working their first job. Plus, they would have the added distinction of surviving the teen years with their own kids! I have a YM friend who just turned 40 (kids are now teenagers), and all of a sudden he's getting phone calls...offers to come serve at this or that church and speak at youth conferences.
- The best youth ministers would be those who are up-to-date on youth culture. That way they can understand and converse with teens easier and more naturally. (I say "bust a cap" and my teens just shake their heads!)
- The best youth ministers would be those who are extroverted. They speak easily with others. They always have something to talk about.
On and on the list goes. Here is an interesting clip featuring George Barna where he describes his research with teens, and what they really want in a youth minister.
Do I have to be hip? Do I have to spend every waking moment with my teenagers? Should I be dynamic and extroverted in order to get their attention?
The way I look at it, if I can make an eternal difference in ONE life, then I'm doing pretty well. I mean, even Jesus took twelve, spent extra time with three, and was betrayed by one!
You can spend your time wishing you were someone else, but then who would be YOU? It doesn't matter if you're introverted, fat, say dumb things every now and then, or even if you're allergic to peanut butter! Be yourself. Know your limitations and your strengths. Celebrate them! Serve God with what you have instead of asking, "God, why didn't you create me to be like THAT person?" (see Romans 9:20-21 on this.)