Rollercoaster ministry


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The roller coaster of emotion. Maybe you've experienced. It seems that as a youth minister, with everything that we deal with and all the disappointment we see, experience and hear about that we live and die with our kids. Do you notice how your heart breaks when a kid shares a struggle with you, or they share some disappointing news, or you learn that a kid is struggling to survive becaus of a bad divorce?

Lately, I have been wondering what kind of impact are we having on kids? I mean we spend all the time, energy, late nights, shed tears, pray constantly for our kids, what effect is it having? Before you write me off as a pessimist because I am questioning our impact, I am being real. Any one else ought there get so discouraged about what we do, and how messed up our world is that you consider transitioning out of youth ministry into a secular job?

Please tell me I am normal. Even though we hurt for our kids and at times have our hearts stepped on, and often we are misunderstood, I am not giving up my passion for youth ministry or sharing the Gospel with them. I am just noticing how ministering to kids is more of an uphill battle than maybe I realized.

How do you deal with disappointment, frustration in ministry and particularly to adolescents?


6 Responses to “Rollercoaster ministry”

  1. Anonymous Tim 

    I feel this way sometimes, too, even as often as last weekend when I attended a student's school dance concert. Some of the dancing was, in my opinion, pretty sexual and it bothered me to see high school girls dance like this with no shame in front of a packed auditorium. It definitely feels like an uphill battle sometimes, but I think of what their lives would be if we weren't here. The uphill incline would be a lot steeper for these students than it already is. I also remember back to when I was a student and how the smallest bit of attention and love made the world a difference in my life, even if the youth leader didn't realize it. So, I'm trusting that my love and attention has the same unseen impact on them that it had on me.

  2. Anonymous Jason 

    Tim,

    Thanks for responding. I was encouraged. It is funny, the first passage I opened today as I have been reading through Luke, is this from Luke 18:1, "Jesus told his disciples a parable so that should always pray and never give up." I don't think I was giving in to defeat, but I certainly was losing perspective.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Anonymous J-wild 

    I think that the ways we think we SHOULD have an impact we in actuality have very little. Conversely the things we do as afterthoughts probably have a greater impact than we realize. For example I spent a lot of time working on a a devotional for a lock-in I had last month. It received a tepid reaction at best. But last weekend I had three kids help me move from our old apartment to our new one. Then they helped paint and install bookshelves, etc. It was really hard and exhausting work. But on Sunday they repeatedly thanked me for letting them hang out and help. They said it was actually a lot of fun.

    I have no idea if the experience brought them closer to Christ, it probably didn't. But something good happened.

  4. Anonymous thedougout 

    I feel ya, Jason. You know you are not alone in these struggles. I know it's not the desire to minister to others that will ever leave you or me, but its hard not to question sometimes if we are serving God in the right capacity. Is it a role in the church as a "professional" that will really make the most difference, or would I be better off picking up some sort of tentmaking skill? I've had and probably will continue to have questions in that area.

    Here's what I know. Your character runs deep. You are not perfect, but you are God's beloved child and I know that you are pleasing to Him (He told me!). Your testimony to Christ's love by your life is the witness these kids need. It can't be forced on them. We just have to pray that they have eyes to see and ears to hear. And if it is not from us that they catch this vision (maybe their hearts are hardened right now), then we pray that somewhere along life's journey Christ will confront them on the way and they will experience something like scales falling from their eyes, thus recovering their sight, never knowing that they have been blind all this time.

    Until the scales fall,

    Doug

  5. Anonymous Jason 

    Doug,

    Thanks. Your words come at a crucial time, and that is just the kind of encouragement I needed to hear!

    Until the scales fall indeed!

  6. Anonymous Chad Nall 

    I definitely feel ya, Jason. There are times I have even questioned my own gifts and abilities. I will spend so much time praying, studying, trying to find ways to connect with the lives of my students. I want so desperately for them to want a relationship with Christ. I want them to want to follow him. I hurt when they choose not to follow him. I think, at times, my ego and pride are hurt. That's more due to insecurities and sin in my life. The times I'm most hopeful are the timmes I rely most heavily on the Lord. Those are the times I seem to better see and understand that what I do is not about me at all, but it's about him. But it's so difficult to remain in the position. So, yes I relate. Thanks for being real.

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