Monday, February 05, 2007

Retreat Mussings

This weekend I was in Ohio speaking at a retreat. I was at some old school that is being turned into a youth center( My phone didn't work, there was no way to check my email, and it was freezing cold even inside the building. I am not complaining, it was great. Actually it was good for me not to be so "connected" all the time. Over the weekend I was reminded of several things:
  • Those who give their time and money to minister to students are amazing people.
I made some new friends this weekend!! The youth pastors and workers who were there were amazing people. They were servants who gave up sleeping at home in a nice bed for a weekend of freezing (even inside) and sleeping with a bunch of high school students. I would be hard pressed to find higher quality people anywhere.
  • Youth pastors are more often than not passionate and qualified people who are sacrificing much in order to do what they love.
The youth pastors who I spent time with love what they are doing. More than anything they want to serve God. They are not less qualified than "Senior Pastors." They are often younger, but not always. They have chosen a career that does not pay lucrative salaries (though it is much better than it used to be) and it demands odd hours along with frequent travel. Why? Because they have been given a passion by God to reach students for Christ.
  • Youth ministry is difficult and tiresome work!!
Many who have not done youth ministry think it is just a bunch of games and gimmicks. They could not be further from the truth. Sure there are those who rely on such things to give the appearance of success. Good youth ministry, on the other hand, requires much more. The youth pastors I talked to this weekend were tired because they want so much more. They want students to become men and women of God. They want them to learn to follow Jesus with every aspect of their life.

As a former youth pastor and someone who loves students, I want to thank every youth worker who reads this for your efforts. I would also like to encourage you to keep it up. Galatians 6:9 reminds us to persevere with good works. Don't allow yourself to grow tired of doing them.

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