Is Loving Teens Enough?
Some people say…
Loving teens is enough for youth ministry to do. Just get there, love on them and allow the incarnation of Christ in you to work the crowd and HE will be KNOWN by your actions. Some will even go as far as engaging this without the need to bring any word of Christ into the mix. (Must be relying on ESP to get it across). I have some thoughts on why love isn’t enough. You need to have a heart for teens to be good at youth ministry, sometimes I bristle when this is the only tool that a youth worker thinks they need to become a good youth worker.
While it isn’t always the center of every side conversation, it needs to be the heartbeat of your ministry. You should be different from the boy scouts, cub scouts, 4-H, Key-Club in that you are about Jesus. What you do and why you do it needs to focus and be dependent on Jesus. Learn to put the cart of your programming behind the “Horse” of Jesus. Doing it in other ways will lead to failure, even if it gives you numbers.
To be in youth ministry, there should be some semblance of a calling to work with this group. It can be an affinity, it can be something you’ve felt all your life, or this may be you stepping out in faith and are experimenting with for a period of time. Either way, calling for yourself is huge!
Part of your role as a youth worker, volunteer or pastor, etc… You are to call your teens into Christ’s service. Into following him through serving him locally in Ministry and regionally, worldly in missions. These are not optional aspects of a youth ministry, but need to be focused on the ministry of youth into the world.
Be in tune somewhat with the culture your teens live in. Don’t be embarrassed to ask dumb questions, this may help the teens open up their lives to you. As they educate them you build a relationship with them. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU BECOME LIKE THEM. The teens you meet with don’t need another friend, they need a positive role model and Christian leaders who act their age will attract students by their wanting to be with them and love on them.
Loving teens is a part of being and becoming a great youth worker. It is not about making them feel good, it is more about them getting to see Christ’s love in you from a person who’s not afraid to tell the teens about the love of Christ.