I‘m not writing this to make you feel guilty for not serving. I’m writing this to those of you who have thought about serving in youth ministry, but have never really given it much thought for any number of reasons. Maybe you feel inadequate. Or fearful. Or maybe you feel too old or too young. Even though I’ve been a youth pastor for several years, all of those reasons and more have crossed my mind at one point or another. Whatever the reasoning to why you have never jumped in, I want to share with you three reasons why you should seriously consider serving in youth ministry.
Reason #1: There’s a Need
Our students are the next generation. And, if I may speak openly, our children are our biggest commodity. Why wouldn’t we want to invest as much as we can into them? They literally are the future! There are many students that come from and are currently immersed in broken homes. There are young boys and young girls being raised by single parents. There are many students who have no father figure. There’s a need in student ministries all over the country. And that need isn’t going to relieve itself. We need men and women to be willing to invest in the lives of students to meet their needs. Needs such as father figures, mother figures, biblical teaching on relationships, etc….And that will take consistency. The last thing they need is for another adult to be “inconsistent” and drop out of their life.
Reason #2: By Serving, You Serve God
Let me be clear: You can serve God in more ways than just student ministry but student ministry is one way you can serve God. How? By investing your time to love students right where they are, to counsel them, to lead them, to point them to Jesus you are serving the Lord. The Bible says in Luke 18:15-17:
15Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” — Luke 18:15-17 ESV
I dare say, would we be hindering students coming to Jesus by choosing not to invest in them if God has clearly told us He wants us to serve in student ministry? Children were important to Jesus. Serving them should be considered both an honor and a privilege. It wasn’t beneath the Lord of lords and King of kings to love on children. Who are we to look down upon such a blessing from the Lord? We can serve our Lord Jesus by serving students.
Reason #3: It Pays Dividends
Are you the type of person who likes to make investments and make a profit on such investments? Investing in the lives of students pays dividends. Student ministry is considered both the hardest ministry in the church, the most often overlooked and under appreciated ministry, and yet, at the same time, one of the most rewarding ministries in the church. How? Because the investment you make in a 6th grader, for example, might not bear any fruit until that student is in college.
As a youth pastor, and other youth pastors can atest to this, we don’t always see the fruit of our ministry. Even as youth leaders you won’t always see the fruit of your ministry. And we have to be okay with that. But how rewarding to think, the investment in students today, could bear much fruit tomorrow? That one student you loved on that one Wednesday night….that same Wednesday night you had a horrible day at work, were tired, and didn’t feel like serving…that one student could be the next Billy Graham, the next President, a missionary who leads hundreds to Jesus, a pastor, a youth pastor, or just someone the Lord uses to reach a whole generation. We won’t see all the fruit until we get to heaven. But we will have all of eternity to enjoy the dividends of serving these students!
I’m not writing this to make you feel guilty, to sway you, or make you feel like you have to serve in youth ministry. I just wanted to share three reasons why you should consider serving. The first step is to seek the Lord. Ask God if He wants you to serve in youth ministry. If He does, don’t hesitate. Jump in as soon a possible. When we obey the Holy Spirit we can bank on the fact that God will honor that obedience.
Besides, as a youth pastor, we will never turn down someone who genuinely wants to serve and is able. Of course, there are background checks, screenings, and such before we let someone serve in our student ministry. We don’t just let anyone just show up and serve at M2L Students without first talking with us. But anyone that show interests we inquire about and we allow the Lord to direct us from there. Wherever you…whatever church you call home….will you allow the Lord to direct your next steps if you feel the Holy Spirit nudging you to serve in your church’s youth minsitry?