Youth ministry comes with a lot of pressure. You have the pressure to create a program that is appealing to teenagers in a world bent toward entertainment. There is pressure from parents to get their kids involved and to help steer them through some of life’s challenges. There is pressure from church members to keep the teens busy, active, and moving in a positive direction. There is pressure from within to handle God’s Word properly and to give eveything to the calling. This pressure is at times a good thing because it shows the seriousness of the calling.
That being said, it dawns on me how easy it could be to get burned out if you didn’t step back and understand the pressure. I look at this like the game of football. Before the play the quarterback will stop and view the coverage to determine whether or not the play he has called will work or not. There are times he gets it wrong, but there are also times he gets it right. It is important to stop and take it all in to get perspective.
I know that as a youth pastor I can only do so much. In fact, God has only called me to do so much. God’s Word needs to be taught, but the primary work in hearts is done by the Holy Spirit, not me. I want to create an environement where students feel welcome and can connect with God. Beyond that it is really up to them to engage in that. I want students to make wise choices, but if they don’t, it really has nothing to do with me. Of course, I need to pray for them and encourage them, and at times admonish them, but the real work of youth ministry happens in the home around the dinner table or hanging with the family. Parents have so much more influence on their kids than I do and they should not lose sight of that.
If you are not in youth ministry this relates to you also. Everyone has something they are supposed to be doing. Still, how often do we try to do something we were never supposed to do? How often do we try to fix someone or something? That is God’s work. We will spin our wheels in order to fix some situation that we could never fix. Yet, God has proven His love for us in Jesus Christ and His ability to fix any mess that we have made.
More ministry leaders would find themselves to be more successful and fulfilled in the long term if they just let God do His work and remained faithful to what He called them to. We know that in whatever He calls us to He will also provide the means to get it done.