Have you ever felt like you are just going through the motions of doing ministry? Have you felt like life and ministry are moving so fast that you just “do” without remembering “why”? I know I sure have.
Youth ministry is awesome! I have been involved in youth ministry with my husband for the last 6 years that we have been married, but have been involved in ministry for my entire life. Literally. I was raised as a pastor’s kid and ministry is all I have ever known. And I love it. I love hanging out with and teaching teenage girls how to love and follow Jesus. But if I am honest, sometimes I find myself just going through the motions.
A few weeks ago I had one of those moments that are just so clear that God is speaking and reminding me of why I do what I do.
I was sitting in one of the back rows at high school youth group. My husband was preaching and we were in the middle of a series called “Stoked for 2016” (Yes, my husband uses the word “stoked” for everything). He was talking about how we have a place to belong in God’s house because His house should be a place that reflects His character. He told a story about how much he loves our kids and how even when we are not with them we can’t stop thinking about them.
He then went on to talk about how God loves us so much more than that. In fact he loves and cares for us so much that he literally knows the number of hairs on our heads! My husband is a great speaker but that is where my mind began to wander and I started down my own train of thought.
I thought about how much I love MY kids, and how I wish I knew the number of hairs on their heads because I desire to love them and know them that intensely. But I am not even capable of that level of intense love. Then it hit me, that is exactly how God loves each one of the students we minister to.
I can’t even describe how powerful it was to hear that voice saying “The desire you have to love your own children that much, IS how I love ALL of these students”. God loves students SO deeply!!!!! He is crazy about them. He cares for them in ways we cannot even comprehend.
This is why I do youth ministry. This is why I give up so many hours a week (as a volunteer), away from my own children. It’s NOT because my husband is the youth pastor, but because God loves these students so intensely and He longs to draw each one of them to Himself and have an intimate relationship with each one of them.
In youth ministry it is so easy to get discouraged. It is so easy to get down, or just to simply slip into the routine of doing the mundane week in and week out. But that is why it is so important to remind ourselves of this incredible truth. God’s intense love for each student is the most powerful motivation to do youth ministry.
If your prayer is, or has ever been for God to give you His heart this realization should hit you like a ton of bricks. God loves students so much, and He wants nothing more than to reach them with His saving grace! All you have to do is look around to see that we live in a world that is almost equally echoing a need for that same saving grace.
Why do you do youth ministry? What keeps you going? I think this realization is a great reminder for all of us, no matter where you are in your ministry journey. I hope this has brought you some encouragement and motivation. It definitely did for me, and right at the perfect time.
By Rachael Jones