It’s a time to be thankful, and if you are a Youth Pastor, you should get on your knees and thank God for these four things.

That there is such as thing called Youth Ministry

Youth Ministry has changed and morphed over the years. Youth Ministry goes as far back as the early 1900’s with Christian Endeavor where kids took ownership of there ministry and endeavored to live a Christian life. fast forward to the 40’s where Youth For Christ (YFC) was have huge rallies to introduce teens to Christ and in the 50’s pivoted more to a club format. It was the in the 70’s with the post Jesus Movement of the 60’s and other factor, where the church started to hire youth pastors to reach and disciple teenagers.

We are the benefactors of a long history of youth ministry. Sure, if we did not have the professionalization of youth ministry we would still be ministering to youth in some way or fashion, but we should always be thankful that youth ministry has morphed into a valuable role in the church.

That God would call us to minister to this group

I am thankful that God loves young people. I see this in scripture when God heard Hagar’s cry in Genesis 21:16-18. God heard the cry of a mother and child and God responded. I was 17 years old when I felt God called me to youth ministry.

I had great youth pastors and camp counselors in my life who showed me what it meant to love young people. It was the Blue Like Jazz Effect. I saw how much they loved ministering to me and other teens and it resonated with me. The final call came when I was debating what I wanted to do after high school My choices were social work, professional bowler (I had a 143 average at 14) and youth pastor. Tough choices, right?

It was that year a missionary from Africa came and spoke at our church. At the end of the service there was a prayer line and I went up for prayer. The missionary prayed for me and I started to walk aways when he called me back. He said, “Have you felt a calling to ministry?” God nailed me and confirmed my calling and 26 years later, here I am and I am so thankful that God called me to minister to young people. Let’s be thankful for the call of God.

That there was a church who was willing to take a chance on us.

I took my first position at 22 years old. I wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed but I had passion. I had worked at six churches over the years and I am thankful to each one of them for taking a chance one me. I was not too thankful for getting fired from two of them, but I am still thankful they too a chance on me.

I take chances now on young pastors in my community who seek my advice. These young men are hot messes who’re working out what kind of leaders they want to be, but I would not trade the opportunity because someone took a chance on me and poured into my life. Let’s be thankful, maybe even send a card, to those who took a chance on hiring us or putting us in a leadership position.

For students who would bother to show up

Close your eyes and see your youth group in front of you. How many of them are made to come to midweek and how many choose to come? Now, look at the those kids who choose to come. Why do they come? They could be anywhere, home, at a friends, etc. but they are here with you. Some come because they sense your love for them. Some because they are looking for God. No matter why they’re at youth, they are, there with you, and they come every week.

We should be thankful for every kid, church kids and fringe kids because who they are now is not who they will be and who they will be could involve us. What a privilege. What a joy. Maybe we should all take time to verbally thank God for every kid in our groups because they do not have to be there.

Side Note: I am thankful for all of you. You read my stuff, some of you buy my stuff, and many of you share my stuff. Thanks for hanging with me in my ups and downs and being a part of this blog, a community where I can share my thoughts. God bless you, your family and ministry this Thanksgiving.

Question: What are you thankful for about your youth ministry? Let me know at thedproject@me.com

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