Wednesday, June 9

Once a youth worker, always a youth worker...

Okay, so maybe that's not the case for everyone but it's the case for me.

I remember the time that I first thought "I think God wants me to be involved with youth." Humorously, I had already been involved with youth for a few years by that point. Let me explain.

All throughout my years in youth group, I was one of those really good kids who volunteered to help with everything, lived as best as I could according to God's truth, and was a leader among the students, in many regards. So upon starting community college, it was a natural fit for me to transition into youth leadership, which I did for two years and loved! It was through this ministry that I felt God calling me into full-time ministry.

So then I went away to Bible College. Part of my degree required that I do an internship, which I felt God wanted me to complete at my home church. My only stipulation was no youth ministry, mainly because I already had experience there and wanted to grow in other ministries. However, God had other plans.  One month after my internship started, the youth pastor left and suddenly I was in charge of the middle school program. I love middle schoolers now but I did not love them my brother was in middle school that added complication. I would to love tell you that I made the most of it and led them closer to God and started many great things with them but the truth is that I had a rotten attitude about the whole experience and could not have been more excited to walk away from my internship by the end. All I knew is that I was done and done with youth ministry. Hasta revoir...auf wiedersehen!

However, God had other plans. I'm still not sure how this came to be, to be honest, but upon going back to Bible College to finish my degree, I found myself to be a co-leader of a youth ministry team. This is when I thought, "I think God wants me to be involved with youth." I felt a bit like Jonah, trying to get away from youth but finding myself continuing in position to minister to them. It was through this ministry that I came to "re-love" youth ministry.

Since then, I served in Germany for two years with primarily middle-school students (a group I now love) and have served as a youth leader this past year at my church.

Last night was my last night being a youth leader at my church (perhaps for the time being). I stepping away from this ministry to do something different: hoping to be involved with a shelter for homeless teens in my city. But I was struck last night that I am sad about not being a youth leader at my church. I've developed good relationship with some of the middle-schoolers and even though I'll still see them on Sundays, it will be different. There's something good, really good, about being involved with youth get to see them grow and develop, not just as a teen but then into adults. Your relationships with them also grow and develop as you have increasingly more in common. I have yet to really experience it. Granted I still have good contact with my kiddos from Germany but because I'm not there investing in them personally, it's different. I seen snippets of their life not a progression!

I know God has plans...plans I probably cannot imagine at the time. But I hope that at some point, I can be involved long-term in some form of youth ministry.

1 comment:

My name is Cait said...

Oh wow. I have been doing youth ministry for so long I'd sob my little heart out if I left even if it was for good reasons.
May God bless you richly in new ministry opportunities.