The question of calling is one I have wrestled with multiple times at multiple stages in my ministry. It began when I first heard God calling me into ministry when I was only a senior in high school, and I was trying to figure out if it was really what I was supposed to do. I again wrestled with it when I was interning and almost done with my college degree with emphasis in youth ministry! I loved doing youth ministry but I wasn’t without doubts of whether or not I should be doing it for the rest of my life. I would be lying if I said the wrestling matches ended when I realized I had indeed been called into youth ministry and I accepted my first full time position. The question of calling is one that I revisit multiple times a year and I continually have to evaluate and remind myself.
So, how do you know if you are called into youth ministry? I am sure you have wondered this exact question multiple times. If you are just starting out, about to start out, or have been doing youth ministry for 15 years, this question probably keeps popping up and demanding an answer. Here are a few ways I know that I am called to youth ministry and they can help you determine if you are as well.
Desire, or passion, is the first giant indicator of whether or not you are called into youth ministry. First, do you have a passion for God, and second, do you have a passion for students? Both of those questions must be answered with a “yes.” Can you be passionate about God, be called to ministry, have an amazing ministry career, and not be passionate about students? Yes, just not in youth ministry. If the answer to either of those questions is “no,” then maybe you have your answer.
What is your motivation for wanting to be in youth ministry? There are plenty of poor reasons to be in youth ministry. I have heard and seen everything from people wanting the popularity of being in charge, to reliving their high school days, to simply just wanting a paycheck. Which, come on, if you are in youth ministry already you know it can’t be about the paycheck! Check out this post (Three Terrible Reasons To Become A Youth Pastor) for a few more commonly used poor reasons. Ask yourself, “what is my motivation for wanting to be in youth ministry?” If it is not reaching and guiding students into a relationship with Jesus, then maybe you have your answer about your calling.
This one is less for someone who has been in youth ministry and more for the person who is just starting out or deciding if it is something they want to get into.
But first let me say, there is always a need for more youth workers and always an opportunity to pour into students lives. If you have been in it for a while and you are questioning if whether or not you are still called to youth ministry, just know there is always opportunity. It may not be at your current church, or even in the “type” of church you are wanting to be at, but there is always opportunities for a youth worker.
If you are just starting out and trying to determine your calling, what opportunities are in front of you right now? What needs are there in your context? How can you fill a specific need in youth ministry tomorrow? That is a huge determining factor in whether or not you are called, is there an opportunity? Think about the first 2 points and if those match up I would encourage you to take that opportunity!
These are a few of the ways I know I am called into youth ministry. Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are first starting out, OR trying to determine if it is still your calling.
-Why do you want to be in youth ministry?
-Would you be fulfilled doing something else?
-What opportunities do you have in front of you right now?
Todd has been in youth ministry for 10 years and has a passion for reaching lost students and training youth workers to do the same. He is the founder of Stoked On Youth Ministry, a speaker, author, and pastor. When Todd is not writing or speaking he enjoys surfing, baseball and most importantly hanging out with his awesome wife and three beautiful daughters. You can connect with Todd on Twitter @TheTodd_Jones, Instagram @Todd_Jones or for speaking inquiries visit TheToddJones.com