Youth Ministry often has many disappointments and most of those disappointments come in the form of watching a student throw their life away or watching families break apart at the scenes. Being a minister comes in #10 in most stressful jobs and I know why.
I’ve watched kids with incredible leadership potential toss it all out the window for something that think is going to be “fun”. I’ve watched students who were once on fire in their relationship with the Lord have their fire quenched by a bad relationship that brings them down.
I’ve seen parents try to be “the best friend” when what their child needed was the parent to be the parent and to call the shots and stand their ground.
I’ve seen youth leaders choose to follow something or someone else rather than follow God and leave students disillusioned after years of investing into them.
Some say it’s the “pay level” that causes the stress in ministry. While I’ll admit I’m not getting rich I am having my needs met and that’s all that matters, it’s not the pay that brings me stress, it’s the people. Anytime you invest in someone’s life you risk the pain of disappointment.
The Fruit of Your Labor
I learned long ago that often it takes time to see the fruit of your labor. I have seen kids blow it in high school then graduate and their life seems to be spinning out of control and that within a matter of a few years they have gotten life together and are living sold out for their Lord and Savior.
Often it is a wait and see situation.
Our goal in youth ministry at NHC is that when a student graduates from high school they don’t graduate from their faith. We hope to instill in them the habits to live a successful Christian life.
A couple of weeks ago I got a FB message from a student who has been away to college.
He went off to school and got plugged into a church. He didn’t go a whole school year waiting to get back home to “his church”. In the message he asked me what he could do this summer in ministry at NHC on Sunday mornings. He gets it! He is looking for opportunities to serve and minister. Not only that he let me know that when he returns to school in the fall he is going to take the members class at his new church and get involved in serving there each week as well.
There is the reward! A combination of all a student is taught about the Lord at home, in church, in his own personal quiet time, all that discipleship working together is a beautiful thing. This is what makes paragraph #1 worth it.