ARISE: Youth Ministry Isn’t Perfect, But I Believe in it
We all believe in things. I may believe that my favorite team will win the big game. You may believe you have the best car. Another person may believe they make the best food. Believing in things is a natural part of life whether they are trivial things or things of faith. I want to spend this post writing about something I wholeheartedly believe in: Youth Ministry.
Youth ministry, in the sense of a ministry geared for teens at a local church, is the vehicle by which I found Jesus.
The youth ministry at the church in my hometown did not save me, Jesus did, but it was through that place and that community of people that Jesus revealed Himself to me in a radical and new way. It was a weekly youth ministry gathering. It was retreats. It was mission trips. It was those experiences many years ago now that shapes the youth pastor I am today. Perhaps it was lock-in’s or camp for you. We all have had different experiences.
I will always contend that people will lean on their past experiences when addressing the present. We lean on the way we were taught and the way we were brought up. That holds true for me in the way I “do youth ministry” today. I am molded by those early days, not only when I was a participant in that ministry but also a leader. We are shaped by our personal experiences.
Faith is also based so much on our experience in life. We can believe in Jesus and what the Bible says about Him but it is our experiences in life and faith that affirm that belief and truly reveal Jesus to us in a profound way. That goes in line with me and youth ministry. My experience as a teen in high school and now a dozen years later as a youth pastor shows me that youth ministry works. I have seen the fruit of my labor in ministry, whether in the short term or long term.
Youth ministry is not perfect…that’s not my message here.
It’s not perfect, it’s not always clean, it’s not always easy, but life is none of those things either. The youth ministry I believe in is a community of broken young people coming together to grow closer to Jesus, grow closer to each other and to support each other in that process.
That is the youth ministry I was a part of. That is the youth ministry I hope to lead. Ask yourself, do you believe in youth ministry? If so, embrace it, dive into it head first and point teens toward Jesus!
Keep the faith.
Kevin Connors is the youth pastor at Swift Creek Presbyterian Church in the suburbs of Richmond, Va. He has been in youth ministry for over ten years and has a passion to help young people grow closer to Christ. Outside of ministry he loves hanging with his family, watching sports and dreaming of being a better golfer. Check out his blog at: KevinConnorsRVA.com.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.