I was a youth pastor in the Northwest for 15 years. I’ve been a lead pastor for the past 10 years… so I still have more youth ministry experience than leading a whole church. Hey, I’m a rookie! Cut me some slack por favor.
I think I’m going back into youth ministry. At least for a season. We’ve had some staffing changes at our church and our youth ministry needs leadership right now.
So I got youth ministry on my mind.
At my age, I know better than to plan a trip to the hipster barber shop or go to the mall and drop some bills on the coolest shoes. Trying to impress young people is no longer my game plan.
Impressing young people with my coolness factor? Nah. Impressing young people with my oratory skillz? Lol, nope.
I’ve got a different plan these days. It’s maybe a little more mature (I hope?).
My plan is to see young people. To really see them. My plan is to listen to young people. To really listen to them. My plan is to love young people. To really love them.
This reminds me of something I read in Mark Yaconelli’s book Contemplative Youth Ministry:
What would it be like for us to listen to youth openly, without preparing our response? What would it be like for youth to truly be heard within our churches and communities of faith?
I once led an exercise with a group of teenagers in which I asked them to remember a time when they FELT DEEPLY HEARD. Then I asked each person to share a word that captured how it felt. I wrote down their words:
—Like God was present