I woke up this morning with heartache for a brother. I don’t know the guy, never met the guy. All I know is this guy’s passion is to see teenagers lives impacted with the good news of Jesus Christ. He was the first person on my mind when my eyes opened from a dead sleep. This brother posted on a youth ministry FB group yesterday this post: “Would you pray for me. No students showed up for youth group tonight.”
I’m reading into his post. I don’t know how many students he has in the youth group. My guess is it is small in number. If our group had 5 to 10 of our students only I would be in the same boat as this youth pastor. Our youth group has a certain number of students who miss quite often or maybe attend once a month. They are not lost and unchurched students but “church” kids.
For the parent who possibly reads this let me explain the hurt in the heart of this guy right now: (Again I don’t know him but I know the feeling of what he is experiencing today)
- He hurts because he knows those who could have been there will miss out on a message that quite possibly could impact their lives for eternity.
- He hurts because he knows those who could have been there will miss out on that opportunity to connect with and be encouraged by other students.
- He hurts because he knows it takes students to build momentum in a student ministry which helps growth.
- He hurts because he knows there are students in his community that need Jesus Christ but his church kids appear to be apathetic. He hurts because he feels it is his fault.
- He hurts because church parents don’t see the value of their teens being connected to the church.
- He hurts because travel sports, football, cheerleading, (insert activity here), has taken a priority over the habits that feed spiritual growth. He hurts because of his concern for your child.
For the youth pastor who might read this:
- Your value to the kingdom is not based on how many students show or don’t show up to your youth group.
- You are not alone. This trend is happening all across America, not in other countries but here in the land of the free it’s becoming the norm.
- The responsibility is on the parents, not you.
- You are providing a fun, safe place for students to hear the gospel. Unfortunately in America our “fun” can’t compete with the technology that’s out there.
- You were prepared and invested your time, you did your best.
- You will have a lasting impact on students. One day a young adult is going to thank you for the investment into their lives. Their time in our student ministry is very short but the investment will reach way into their future. In that moment you will see the fruit of your labor.
- You remain faithful. Jesus said he would build his church.
- You are going to have to discover new ways to do student ministry “out and about” where the students are because in the next ten years student ministry will look totally different then it did ten years ago.
- You are loved by Christ and all your fellow youth ministers serving in the trenches with you.