For 10 years I labored in local churches as a youth pastor. At different times I have had the pleasure of leading junior high students, high school students and college students. For most of that time I loved my job to the extent that even during the more difficult times I found myself excited to go the office for another day. It is by no means lost on me that now as I am leaving youth ministry I am probably more qualified than ever to actually pastor teenagers. For 10 years not only did I study the bible constantly to teach the youth of our church but I was also a student of youth culture. I tried to keep up with what they were watching, listening to and reading.
I would like to use this space from time to time to reflect on the things that I learned during my tenure as a youth pastor. There are few people less appreciated these days than a youth pastor who is trying to implement a biblical philosophy of youth ministry. Even in the strongest of churches distinctions are made between how teenagers should be reached versus how one endeavors to reach the rest of the congregation. This can only result in ministry to students that is watered down and powerless to change lives. The least I can hope from these series of posts would be that some discouraged youth pastor out there might not feel quite so alone after dropping by this site.
I’ll have more to say about this in future posts on the topic. But let me close for now by saying that I think ministry to teenagers, particularly ministry to junior high students is actually some of the most important ministry in the church. There is an all out war being waged for the souls of students. Pastors and parents need to get their heads out of the sand so that they can help teenagers become true disciples of Jesus Christ.