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Youth Ministry is like the Army

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Now I’m no ‘youth ministry veteran’, but I can say with confidence that youth ministry is like an army.

An army is a country’s defence force. They train and keep fit in order to protect their nation and go to battle if the need arises.

In Australia, enlisting in the army is completely voluntary, but:

  • soldiers need to work really hard (I struggle to even wake up at 8am)
  • soldiers will fall many times and fail to impress your seniors
  • soldiers will appear to ‘miss out’ on the rest of the world
  • soldiers will get some of the most valuable training ever

With all due respect, I dare say that enlisting in youth ministry as a youth leader is much the same:

  • youth leaders need to work hard, especially when nobody’s looking
  • youth leaders will fail countless times and be tempted to give it up
  • youth leaders will have to forego many other opportunities in life
  • youth leaders will get some of the most valuable training ever

 

So here’s some implications from thinking about youth ministry as an army…

For someone thinking about joining youth ministry, know what you’re getting yourself into.

Youth ministry is no walk in the park – it’s really hard work.

The first couple of months may be fun and exciting, but eventually you’ll get to a point(s) where you want to give up. When you’re meant to be planning for youth group and you feel like procrastinating. When you’re meant to be meeting up with a student and you want to cancel. When you’re meant to be going to youth group but feel like quitting altogether.

But youth ministry will also be a time of invaluable training for your character. With the right accountability and mentoring, you’ll be disciplined and pushed beyond your expectations.

And lastly, you’ll be serving God’s own people. Leading God’s sheep to green pastures and watching over them is an immense privilege that, without the context of youth ministry, you’ll miss.

 

To those who are currently serving in youth ministry, keep going.

You may read the above part about wanting to give up and you may feel like this is you right now.

If you can keep going, don’t give up. Don’t forget that especially during the first year of army service, soldiers will want to give up many times. I know it’s hard work, trust me. But giving up is not always the solution. Talk to your pastor or youth director and ask for guidance to keep going.

Put on the armour of God and fight on, for the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. And you are one of the few that God has chosen to be serving his flock right now. To walk alongside them and make sure they don’t do drugs, but rather become more like Jesus.

 

And for those who have finished their time in youth ministry, congratulations.

If you’ve seen it through to the end of your time, well done – good and faithful servant. You’re officially a veteran and you of all people know the importance of youth ministry not only for the youth, but for the leaders and the training it gives them.

Keep encouraging and finding ways to support the younger generation of youth leaders and their youth. Can you pray for them? Do so, for the Lord loves to listen and answer prayers. Can you financially support them, now that you’ve probably got a full-time job? Do so, cause otherwise they’ll be eating carrot sticks for supper.

 

ConneXion youth group leaders of 2016. Much love for these people

A photo posted by Timothy Lim (@timlimdimsim) on

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