Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Unseen struggles in Youth Ministry

a Biblical thought...
Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

a Book thought...
God is educating us, and some of His lessons are hard, but by His grace I shall apply myself to them and learn them. (p177)

a Dave thought... by Doug Fields
After church today, one of my students smiled and said, “Hey Doug, I’ve been clean for a year now.” Knowing how important a one year anniversary is to a drug addict, I said, “That’s great! I’m so proud of you Stephen. That’s really big…way to go.” He said, “Thanks…now all I’ve got to do is stop smoking pot.” Huh? Was he kidding me? As I pursued my confusion I found out that Stephen stopped using Crystal Meth one year ago but has yet to stop using Marijuana. This is a kid who never misses church, he’s a great kid and he’s always serving. He’s one of the last to leave the church because he’s picking up trash, stacking chairs, and helping us clean the room. I’m always excited to see him because he’s one of the few students who makes positive comments about my message.

The reality is, life hurts! And teenage life seems to be dramatized and amplified and kids need an audience and an ear. Every student in your youth group is a day away or one decision removed from the pain that’s hiding around the corner ready to invade their life. That’s why youth ministry is so important! Because of the Stephens’ in our lives. It’s also because of the “church kids” who seem to have it all together but are too fearful to admit their pain or to look inside their heart to see what’s hurting. Don’t be fooled, they hurt too.

Most students may not have addictions like Stephen, but their hurt is real. This is why churches must find caring adults like you to come alongside teenagers to listen, love, and journey with them. Bottom line: kids need adults. They need a neutral adult who has the ears to hear the joy of quitting pot, the tender eyes to notice when braces come off, and the mouths to share words of encouragement. These are qualities of a life changer.

If you’re considering becoming a youth worker…thank you…you are needed.
If you’re about to give up because you don’t think you are needed…don’t…you are.
If you’re a youth ministry veteran…thank you for staying with the journey.

Just a thought.


jan magor said...

Great post Dave, so very true

Anonymous said...

Good one, Dave. People need love and care so much... and often no-one even notices or cares.

Robyn Clinch