Dear Youth Pastor,
When I think about the task that has been set before you, Galations 6:9 immediately comes to mind. It’s a familiar verse that simply states, “Let us not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Not “may” or “will perhaps” or “quite possibly if you have enough lock-ins” reap, but you will reap. It’s a promise.
Now I can’t exactly say I’ve ever tried to fill your shoes as one who pours blood, sweat and tears into high schoolers who believe they have “arrived” or junior highers who are just trying to find themselves, nor have I ever held any title in youth ministry. But once upon a time, not too many years ago I assumed the role of an uncertain teen, just trying to find my place in the world. I grew up in the church, but it wasn’t until I entered the realm of “youth group” that I began to grasp my purpose on this earth. I was challenged to the core to seek out the Lord for myself, to love beyond my own capabilities, and to be bold about this faith that had changed and was continually changing my life. Yet it was not the countless messages or youth events or programs that cemented such truth in my heart. You see, I had a youth pastor who believed with all his being that God was who He said He was and lived like it. I remember countless times passing through the halls of our small church in Eastern North Carolina and hearing my youth pastor in his office crying out to the Lord for the students he had been entrusted with and those in our city who did not know Jesus. I learned very quickly the necessity of spending time in God’s presence, meditating on God’s Word, and laying my requests before God’s throne each day, simply by watching the way he lived. Our youth group would go on field trips to the malls and parks, following our youth pastor’s lead as he walked up to strangers, struck up a conversation, and shared the Gospel.
Why do I share my experience with you? Because I believe in what you are doing. The role you play in shaping the perspectives and worldviews of a generation is of utmost importance. The godly wisdom you provide is the greatest treasure (Colossians 2:2-3). The unchanging truth you convey brings freedom (John 8:31-32). The unfailing love you demonstrate is compelling (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). I cannot imagine the challenges you face from week to week in trying to simply get through to your students, dealing with tough family situations, sharing the message of Jesus in a way that holds their attention for more than 14 minutes, and juggling everything else in between, but I do know that the Word of the Lord does not return void. It will bear fruit in due time. Your labor is not in vain.
May God continue to mold and use you as you seek to know Him better and thus, love His children more with every passing day.
In pursuit of Jesus,