|A bit about me:Â Â My name is Anna, I am a CPA in Central Texas and my husband, Trent, is the youth minister at our church.Â We stay very busy juggling my work, his work, doing ministry together and also finding time for ourselves as a couple.Â It has been a big adventure with some ups and downs but we are totally loving it!Â Â Stop by my blog if you’d like:Â Â www.missannapie.blogspot.com
Trent and I obviously have aÂ tonÂ of fun in this youth ministry gig and get a lot of fulfillment from it.Â That’s kind of a duh. Â Our kidsÂ are great and we are loving tagging along on some of their life adventures, eating a lot of pizza and getting a lot of laughs.Â Youth ministry is a lot of FUN.Â But what about the times when it’s not so fun, when one or some of our kids are hurting, when we have to switch from big-kid adults having fun and learning with them to f’real adult ministers trying to help them through a tough time?Â Honestly, it’s really hard.Â I know I had a pretty sheltered childhood and teenage years but I also know things have changed a lot for teenagers over time.Â Some of the things our kids go through or witness, I just can’t even imagine having to deal with or stand up against…
…drama, ridicule, threats, fights, death of a friend, depression, cutting, relationships, death of a family member, running away, drugs, alcohol, sex, trends, changing schools, family in the hospital, comparison to siblings, moving away, parents, lack of parents, betrayal…
Frankly, it’s nuts.Â And it kind of overwhelms me at times.Â The clichÃ© phrase “what is this world coming to?” pops into my head a LOT.Â Other than a few of the more mild items in that list above, I didn’t have to deal with this type of stuff when I was a teenager.Â I know I had a pretty calm childhood in a little town, but still. All I have available to pull from is my own experience and honestly I have times when I don’t know how to relate to or minister to a youth who is dealing with some of this crazy stuff.Â I want to FIX IT and make everything magically better and…I don’t know how.Â The thing is, that’s not really possible.Â These things can’t go away with the snap of anyone’s fingers.
I stress about this sometimes.Â (Me, stressing?Â Never…)Â Am I being an effective minister to them?Â How do I even approach this? Are they getting anything from what I say?Â Are they thinking “Oh, Anna is just a sheltered goody-two-shoes with a fairy tale life and marriage who has never really had to deal with hurt like this”?
The thing is, I can’t fix any of these things immediately and I don’t think the youth are expecting me/us to. Â But there are a few things I can do. Â I can listen intently. I can share my thoughts or suggestions, as sparse as they may be. I can let them know that I love them. I can pray for them. Â I can check in with them to see how they are doing. I can give hugs. Â I think that type of stuff right there is the stuff of ministry. Â Ministers aren’t necessarily fixers. Â They are helpers. Â And I’m committed to doing the best I can to help our youth through this scary world.
How do you minister to youth who are hurting?