Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Being a Church Youth Leader

I have been in the Youth Ministry as a leader for 6 years. If my years as an assistant leader be included, I have been a youth leader for 8 years. Yes, 8 years of God’s grace. No, the Youth Ministry is not easy to handle. Just think of a church as a whole, make their looks and minds many, many years, and…presto…the members of the Youth Ministry. When someone volunteered/accepted the leadership in

Some say that if you have any background as a school teacher, specifically secondary school teacher, you’ll have the edge, well, think again. I know high school teachers who are really a snub. In the youth ministry, you must do your best not to be a snub, especially if you’re the MAIN youth leader. Besides, you can’t treat the youngsters in the youth ministry like public school students. You can’t assert your authority just like Filipino public school teacher does (hehehehe…I’ve been a public school teacher for less than 2 years. I just wish youth leaders have that kind of authority just like public school teacher). Honestly, with a recent youth related problem that I’m encountering right now, I wanted to assert like a public school teacher does to his/her students. Yes, being a school teacher will help, but you can’t do the “classroom management” style most of the time in the Youth Ministry.

I envy public school teachers in that aspect. Their authority to the students is really a pot of gold for people who wanted that kind of authority. Although I hate teachers physically abusing erring students, I don’t like students asserting their rights while they’re not that good in their responsibilities as a student.

Just recently, I have this problem with two youngsters. They’re not in good terms with each other. They’re not talking to each other inside the church. Yes, they’re college ladies (the older the youngster, the bigger the problems to face). What made matter worst is that one of them is telling things to other people, including myself. Yes, I appreciate how she shares things with me, but she is also sharing this to other youth. Because of that, she just made things worse than what it really should be. Now, I’m awaiting a parent who said that she wants to talk to me on SOMETHING.

That’s only one example that Youth Ministry is no joke. Adding to that is the different personalities of these youngsters. I have a moderate tolerance on youngster’s noise. I have a huge tolerance on child-like behavior (in fact, seeing this type of behavior make me smile). However, I still have to figure out how to tolerate disrespectful youngsters. Recently, a youngster (one of the college ladies I just mentioned in the above paragraph), just showed disrespect when she asked me this question: “among us three, who do you think is telling the truth?” More recently, that same college gal gave me a text message which is quite similar to this: “I’m not hypocrite. YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT.” She’s only 20 years old. (I wonder what she will feel if an undergraduate person 7 years younger than her will talk like that to her). I have a high tolerance of youngsters of doing stupid mistakes (they’re learning, you know). However, I still have to learn how to deal with arrogant youngster without making yourself “stained”. I still have to learn how to deal with “girls doing cat fight”.

Still though, my heart is still in the youth ministry. Being a Youth Leader is no joke, but it’s rewarding. Every time a youngster’s parent encourages me, I gave it back to the Lord God. There are youngsters who are sweet to you, even giving you simple things. Despite their weaknesses, I find these youngsters encouraging. It’s not because they’re the best youngsters in the Baptist circle. They’re not.

To all the Youth Leaders out there: keep up the good work. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Yes, youth ministry is hard, but the reward? I can’t explain in words why I keep on doing this.

Despite that bad setback I had two years ago, and a criticism from a newly installed youth leader from the old church (who is also a classmate back in high school) and more, my heart is still in the Youth Ministry. If the Old Church will no longer allow me to handle Youngsters just like before, it will break my heart. However, as long as God will still allow me to handle youngsters, no one will break my spirit, by God’s grace. Yes, the recent thing that happened to me affected me, but it will not ruin me. It will just encourage me more.

More of this next time.

1 comment:

sonofpriam said...

the rewards are eternal. yes, indeed, it is very hard to explain what we can ever get from pastoring the youth. but it is the words that says "well, done, thou good and faithful servant". it is our reward. it is our inheritance.

on the practical side, however, we can also find satisfaction upon seeing that those people whom we have mentored have grown in to maturity.