I just finished reading “The Contemplative Pastor” by Eugene Peterson.
Whilst speaking about the nature of pastoral work, the author makes the significant point that a difference exists between a job, a profession and a craft.
- A job is just that… A job. An occupation. Something you do for a pay check. You find out what is expected and you do it. You don’t extend yourself beyond what is anticipated.
- A profession is beyond a job. In a profession you’re working for and towards something. Behind a profession there is a driving force, be it rising up the corporate ladder or something more profound.
- A craft is undertaken amidst a medium which you honor through your efforts. You want to make your desired outcome significant.
What happens when we hold up these three terms against the backdrop of youth ministry?
There are parts of youth ministry which aren’t glamorous. Doing attendance spread sheets isn’t something highlighted on too many youth ministry recruitment posters, but it’s a part of the job.
But youth ministry is more than merely a job.
We all know, in ministry, you should be working with something bigger in mind. We want to reach teenagers for Christ. We want to see young people develop their God given talents and skills. We want to see the Kingdom grow.
In youth ministry we are driven by more than the desire for a wage at the end of the month. Just as a lawyer should be driven by the desire to see justice, or a teacher driven by the desire for others to learn, we are to be inspired by the Spirit of God and given the example of Jesus to follow. We are sent out with the words of the Great Commands and the Great Commission ringing in our ears.
But… Is youth ministry beyond a profession?
Is youth ministry a craft? I think so.
We work in the extraordinary mediums of young people and life change. We want to honour those who God has placed in our care. We want to allow God’s Spirit to transform the lives. Do you look at your ministry as a job, a profession, or a craft?
Graham Baldock is a Youth Pastor from Sydney, Australia and has a youth ministry blog worth checking out at grahambaldock.blogspot.com