You matter to your students. You matter especially when it doesn't show. It's true! We really do care about you guys, our youth pastors and youth leaders, despite how we act and talk. I know that we act ungrateful and selfish at times, but the truth is that you are really some of the few adults who treat us like people. To you we're images of God, not just some kids who have no purpose or direction and that need to be supervised every second of every day. Even though we might not actually have found our purpose and direction yet, and many (OK, most) of us need lots of supervision, you treat us like you see potential and value in us.
Take weekend retreats–you know, that one weekend a year you take all of us out to a camp or wherever and we drive you up the wall. We get under your skin and a little out of hand (OK, a lot out of hand) because we do not have to worry about getting critiqued en masse by our parents/teachers/siblings. We usually want to celebrate this newfound freedom while it lasts. It is not that we do not respect your judgment (especially when it comes to stair-sledding and indoor football), we just don’t want to be told what to do because we’re tired of getting treated like little kids. We just want to be teens. You understand that and help us make the right decisions. It really was better fun to sled and play football in the snow and not the retreat house anyway.
We really do care about what you have to say. You are our guide, our teacher about discipleship. Even though we would rather run around and play than listen at times, you help us know that our faith comes first. You are just trying to help us understand what this Jesus-life is all about. We like your talks way better than the Sunday sermon; we swear. You get us engaged with our faith and show us by example that faith isn’t all about being still and boring, that it is something way more everyday and active.
So keep in mind that we really do love you. We really do respect your judgment and what you have to say, most of all because you respect and listen to us. We don’t always show it (sometimes even show the opposite), but you are very important to us as we struggle through life in this world. Years from now we will remember that you invested in us and helped us understand, and we'll be better followers of Jesus for it. You really do matter to us.