Ministering to Youth for a Lifetime
by Aaron Babyar
Twenty years ago I was already experienced in youth ministry, both as a volunteer and vocationally after having served at a couple of Christian Camps & as a youth director at a local church. However, I had initially started college with the intent of getting a "real job," and had focused my studies towards eventually obtaining a law degree.
Yet, in the spring and for nearly 6 months following, it felt like my mind and heart was cooking in a microwave where God was nuking much of my adolescent immaturity away. I began to mature and realize that I was going to be different from many of my peers who were in school. By that fall I had transferred to John Brown University with a clear purpose of getting my undergraduate degree in Youth Ministries & Camping Ministries. I felt called to youth ministry, and began to stop taking my gifts for granted. Yet I also knew I was naive and needed formal education, because the Spirit's leading was a long-term life directional call to action which also needed more information!
Over the next few years I was repeatedly surprised to find some of the other youth ministry majors (who were also hoping to get a job as a youth pastor some day), see youth ministry primarily as a stepping stone to a longer or more lucrative ministry career. I love & stay in contact with many of those friends to this day. However, my theory is that the reason many of them are no longer in any ministry, including youth ministry, is because they never took it seriously enough.
Youth Ministry is more than feeling, and more than a possibly wise-career choice. I love when I see a leader who is impassioned for it. Are you called to youth ministry? I mean honestly focused, and called, to be serving youth? Has God put a burden on your heart that makes serving Him through serving youth a non-negotiable? Don't get me wrong, I helped plant a church at one point. I've been "between-jobs." Yet a call to serve in youth ministry is a high and Holy calling that gets beyond who/what is paying your bills. If you are the type of person called do youth ministry, you will do it even when you aren't being paid for it.
Life can throw curve balls. Churches fire youth pastors. Youth Pastors sometimes need to sometimes work in a different vocation to support their ministry habit (er...I mean calling!). But I believe that the men and women of God whom are committed to bringing youth to His throne, are leaving behind an eternal legacy that makes most other things in this world pale. I have made a commitment and agreed to a covenant to that end. Will you join me?