I have been a youth pastor for 8 years now at the same church. I have had many pieces of graduation cake and have many awesome memories. Sometimes I can’t believe I am being paid for what I do. Sometimes I don’t think I am paid enough. I am getting older and don’t understand all the popular things in your high schools and each year the culture seems harder for me to figure out.
I often don’t feel equipped for the ministry God has led me towards. Sometimes I doubt a few hours of truth a week can compete with the endless hours of lies heard at school, on tv, online, and even from some parents. Am I making a spiritual dent?
I am not an outgoing, guitar totting, tech savvy, or an athlete that will amaze you with my awesomeness. Yet, I care about the students who walk through the doors of our church. My heart is that they will know they are loved by God so much that Jesus was the price to buy back their souls from grasp of sin. I want them to know they are valuable and have talents that God has given them to make a difference in their world. I want them to be people that worship with an inner sense of gratitude. I want them to serve others out of compassion rather than compulsion. I want them to have a hunger to know God more deeply and live more faithfully.
I ponder about those students I have not yet met. I dream that when a student comes into our modest youth room they will feel safe and know they are appreciated and respected. I pray that we can create a zone free of the bullying and competition that is too common today so that masks and walls can come down. I want students to feel this is their group, they want to be here, and they are growing spiritually from our time together. That church is at least as important as sports and music which are here today and gone tomorrow.
I confess that at times I have prioritized just making it though a lesson, instead of really listening to your hearts. I confess that sometimes I want to have control rather than let the Holy Spirit speak. Sometimes I spend more time planning a game than I do praying for my students. I pray that God will forgive me. Students will you forgive me for where I have not been the leader that I should have been? Will you help me refocus this group to the place that God wants us to be? Will you join me for the next chapter?
The last time I slowed down long enough to breathe was: Just now. The reason I’m going (or want to go) to the 2012 Simply Youth Ministry Conference is to breathe, to pray, and to ask God what those next steps will look like. *I am not alone.*
Posted anonymously with permission.