Recently (and by recently I mean within the last 3 months) one of our students asked me "why I hang around with children all the time". At first, I thought she was referencing my work in the Clubhouse with what I actually consider as "children"; however, she was really referring to herself and her peers. I can't remember the answer I gave her at the time…and honestly I think she was really joking around with me…but the question has been on my mind ever since she asked it.
Because really & truly, if my motives are not true…then I shouldn't even bother.
AND THEY CAN TELL WHEN YOUR MOTIVES AREN'T TRUE!
And that's what I've been considering since she asked…WHY do I do youth ministry?
So…I'm going to attempt to tell you why I do youth ministry and why I think it's important.
BUT FIRST…I would be doing a disservice if I didn't consider some of the more popular reasons that other people think that I (and my fellow youth leaders) do youth ministry.
#1 - To go on lavish, all-expense paid trips.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! While part of that is somewhat true…I do go on trips and the cost for me to go on said trip is usually covered (after I have worked alongside our teenagers at every car wash, meal, fund raiser, etc.)…there is nothing lavish about spending any more than 20 minutes in a 15-passenger van with teenagers. The smells alone will keep one from even imagining for a moment that you are going to some tropical paradise.
And lavish? I spent one youth trip sleeping on a very uncomfortable couch every night. The most lavish part of that trip was that we had a pool at the house we were staying in. A pool that I never got into. Now…when we take a youth trip to Hawaii or a cruise to the Bahamas? Maybe we can give lavish a little credo.
Also…I don't consider a trip where I maybe get 10 hours of sleep over a 5 day period lavish. Nor do I consider a trip where I have to keep up with 20+ teenagers lavish. I have a hard enough time keeping up with one.
#2 - Because you are still young & fun.
Yeah…no. I have an 18 year old son that will tell you all the ways that I am neither young nor fun. Just ask him.
#3 - Because you have nothing else to do.
Honestly, I love having nothing to do. My favorite thing is to discover that I have nowhere to be and nothing that must be done. And when I find myself with this rare treat, I don't call up 20 of my favorite teenagers and plan a trip.
I lay in bed, drink coffee, read a book, and/or watch TV.
THAT's what I do when I have nothing else to do.
So…why do I actually do youth ministry? I'll tell you tomorrow.