I was asked recently why/how I got into youth ministry. I told him clearly it was for the money!
After we had a good hearty laugh (sigh), I described how my great youth ministry experience as a student and in particular thinking my youth pastor was super cool got me thinking about getting into the ministry for myself. Besides giving him the Sunday school answer of “because God told me to” these were definitely catalysts the Lord used to make his calling me into ministry much more clear as I graduated high school.
This answer, however, spurred another question. He said, “You seem like a guy who students would think is cool, but you’re also a young guy. Will your coolness expire as you get older?”
I told him confidently that love, care, presence, and availability for students and a passion for God will always make me cool. It’s not about my clothes (lame), my knowledge of Justin Bieber or Kate Upton trivia (lacking), or my taste in movies and TV (vastly superior). It’s about pursuing God and being willing to engage students so they can do the same. I told him there were tons of youth pastors in their 40′s and 50′s and even more volunteers that age and older. It was a great opportunity to share the awesomeness of youth workers, especially the veterans!
I only hope I can be an effective youth worker 20 years from now and not take the sucker bait to accept the demotion to adult ministry… Well, unless God tells me to.
Matt Johnston is the High School Pastor at Journey of Faith in Manhattan Beach, CA. If you’re into it, you can check him out on twitter here and he blogs occasionally here. Also, be praying for him as he’s a Dodgers fan and baseball season is about to start. It will be a rough 6 months.