If you’ve been in youth ministry (or ministry of any kind really) long enough, you’ve dealt with the discouragement and pain of watching someone you’ve invested in begin to drift from God and start making decisions that are not beneficial to their well being. Or you’ve had that moment when you are standing in the back of youth group and you wonder, “Does this even matter? Will this even help them in 5 years when their faith is tested?”
I was reading the other day and came across 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
This verse was both encouraging and weighty for me at the same time. We have been given a sacred trust – the explanation and impartation of the truth of the Kingdom of God and Jesus to young people. When I contemplate the weight of this, it humbles me … and even scares me. And isn’t it interesting the quality of character that Paul calls for in us as servants of this trust? Faithfulness. We must prove faithful. It is almost as if he is saying, “I know you aren’t perfect. I know not every curriculum or game or teaching will be a homerun. But honestly in the end, what really matters is — have you consistently BEEN THERE.”
I read a great article entitled The Power of One Caring Adult about the importance of every teen having at least ONE CARING ADULT in their life. The author cited a 2015 Harvard study that concluded that
“Every child who winds up doing well has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult.”
That sounds a lot like faithfulness to me. To be a teen in today’s world is to be in the middle of a storm of change. Culture, what is socially accepted, what they are “supposed to think,” how they relate to peers, and even their relationships – they are all in flux. Can we, as youth workers, be that STABLE environment they so desperately need? What if the main ingredient was faithfulness? Being there consistently. In hard times and in victories? I think this is one reason why youth group is so powerful. There are teens who have come through our youth ministry who I saw at least once a week for 6 years straight. Think about that consistency!
Of course it goes beyond just showing up – it entails listening, caring, having fun together, praying, and speaking when needed 🙂 But I think showing up is a big part of it.
One last thought – Psalm 13:5 says
I trust in your unfailing love.
As with everything in following Jesus, he does not call us to do anything that he has not already done for us. How can we be faithful? How can we be that one stable relationship in a teen’s life? Because God is faithful to us. We draw on the faithfulness of God in our lives, so we can reach out in faithfulness to others. Being there consistently will wear on you — lean into God’s faithfulness when you yourself begin to wane.
My encouragement to you youth worker is this – you are doing monumentally important work. Life changing work. Faith building work. Sometimes even work that is shifting the course of a family for generations to come. Keep it up! Stay faithful!