When you use the words, “Youth Ministry” around others, people either run toward you or away from you! It seems to create one of those love/hate responses in the hearts and minds of people. The crazy thing about youth ministry is this, if you are a God-fearing man or woman who follows is obedient to God’s Word, you are a candidate for Youth Ministry. Who better to serve as a leader then one who already follows? Teenagers need people to pass the torch to them. People, who have lived, persevered and survived.
Myth #1: Youth leaders have to be young and hip!
My experience has been that youth desire people who are real not fake–age does not matter. They want someone who is the same in the classroom as they are in their own home. It is important to teenagers that you are who you say you are… hip or not!
Myth #2: You have to know all the technology stuff before you go into youth ministry.
I did not even know MySpace existed prior to youth ministry. As a matter of fact, I did not even have an iPod, let alone an iPod Touch. I did not even create an iTunes account until this past year. If you are technologically illiterate, in some ways, you are ripe to be a youth leader. Since I was not familiar with all the social media and technological gadgets, my medial-illiteracy became my best strategy for building relationships. Pizza, phone calls or texting and conversations led them to teach me about technology and as a result, I’ve built good relationships. I can remember calling a student’s home and the mom answered, and as I asked for their son she replied, “Is everything okay?” I said, “Oh, yes.” After her son directed me via phone how to recover the 384 songs I lost on my iPod, I later received an email that read. “Wow, Michelle. My son thinks so much of you, that you would call him and ask for help. That meant a lot. Thank you for what you are doing.”
Do not be intimidated if you cannot download a song or make a power point, you have a group that can create, edit and post videos! Just be you.
Myth #3: You are irrelevant in teenage stuff.
Were you not at one point a teenager? Sure, you were. Did you not have relational issues with friends, significant others and even parents? Yep! While times have changed, there are some things that never change. A friend who is betrayed by another friend, a girlfriend dumped by a boyfriend for a best friend, a son who loses a father at war, a girl who has been abandoned by a parent, a broken heart, a hurt soul. It’s safe to assume that you’ve experienced pain in your life. The context of where the pain appeared may be different, but the learning from your pain can be passed on. Your past can help you be the hands and feet of Jesus, helping teens get through some of the toughest spots of their adolescent years. Your experience and years of healing and reflecting could be just the words to motivate them to grow through the experience not accept it and think this is all life has to offer them.
Youth ministry is vital to our culture and within the church. If we, as adults, do not rise up and step in leading the teenagers to grab hold of the torch that we bear, so that they are ready to pass it along, the flame will die out. You do not have to be hip, nor technologically savvy, or have all the answers. You just need to be real, the person God made you, and be willing to share his message, his ways and his love.
Michelle Georgiana is a teacher, writer, and speaker who has a heart to share God’s message with other women. As a committed wife and mother of four, she’s actively involved in her church’s youth ministry. To find out more about her and her blog, visit www.shestepsministry.com.