One thing that I know is true for people in youth ministry is that it is very easy to get discouraged. Recently, I thought about how hard I worked with the team of leaders I get to serve in going through transitions of expanding our family ministry programs. It’s hard and a constant battle. While others may not always give you the compliments you deserve, know that what you are doing for the Kingdom matters. To show that, I wanted to write some encouragements to you, the youth worker.
- You will change a person’s life. As a youth pastor, you should know that you are changing lives. Teens are being changed through you. You get the amazing opportunity to show a teen who Jesus is and what His love does. You get to help in the process of a teen giving their life to Christ. It is a beautiful sight when it happens and it will happen.
- You are a superhero. Whether your youth admit it or not, you are their superhero. They love getting to spend time with you. They love getting to learn from you. It can be challenging to be like Jesus when you get cut-off by a semi, but they love just getting to live life with you. That’s what students will remember. They remember the authentic time you spent with them.
- You showed love when you went out of your way to do things out of your job description. We all do things that do not correlate with our specific job descriptions. That is perfectly okay. While this happens, you’re not always thanked or appreciated for it, so I wanted to tell you that I do. Without you showing love and grace to go out of your way to do the things you do, the ministry wouldn’t continue to grow. You are awesome for showing Jesus in that way.
- You did an amazing job on that event that took some major hours of planning. Something that can be tough on youth pastors is when you plan hours, upon hours, for a certain event and people complain about it. Don’t let that get you down. You are awesome for planning the event in the first place and if people want to complain, let it slide through the other ear, because I know how troubling it is when others complain. Don’t let it affect you because you worked hard at putting the event together.
- You are a gift from God to minister to teens. You are a gift. The teens may not see that now, but one day they will when they grow up. I think back all the time to my youth leaders growing up and think about how blessed I am to have had those leaders in my life. You are a gift to your teens, so enjoy the time that you have with them.
- God loves that you are serving Him. One thing that I have come to not care about is other’s opinions. I love serving God. I love getting to do that in youth ministry. While others may complain or try to tell you how to do your job, know that ultimately God loves that you are serving Him for His cause. It’s an amazing opportunity that we have.
- You are still God’s child. Just because we are youth pastors doesn’t make us some type of spiritual scapegoat. You are still a child of God, regardless of your job or age. He loves you like He always will. It’s okay to be scared and worried and come to Jesus. Jesus isn’t going to be mad, but glad that you are still pursuing Him with your needs.
- You may have messed up on that message, but your students have already forgotten it anyway. When I first got involved in youth ministry, I was not really the best speaker. I didn’t even know how to put a message together. I just read a passage and tried to pick out some good points to speak on. Sometimes, I left thinking that I didn’t even understand my message. Don’t worry about that. Teens don’t really remember the lessons you teach, but the remember the common theme of Jesus. I can count on one hand the number of messages that I remember being preached to me in high school. Teens don’t always remember the message, but they remember the fun times when you were together with them showing the love of Jesus.
- That ball game you went to the other night showed that student you really love them. Students love when you show up to their events. They remember when you show up. It shows them that you love them when you are willing to take time out of your day that you didn’t have to take to go see them participate. It makes them feel valued and the moments like those are what teens will remember forever.
- You have the hardest, but most rewarding job in the universe because you get to see teens come to know Jesus and give their life to Him. We have the hardest, yet, most rewarding job. It’s difficult to schedule everything we have to schedule, see students at lunch, prepare our message, practice for worship, design those sermon graphics, and all the other things that we do. It is also the most rewarding job, though, because we get the amazing opportunity to see those students we serve give their life to Christ and then continue to lead a life for His cause.
You may not always get encouragement as a youth pastor, but know that you make a huge difference in the world. Without you, teens would have a hard time finding their way God. From one youth pastor to another, you are awesome and God loves you.