I am in youth ministry because of one conversation.
OK, that isnt’ entirely true – I’m in youth ministry because of a myriad of things: being raised well by godly parents, shaping moments throughout my childhood by amazing Christian men and women, seeing the need for leadership and love in the life of a teenager, my own specific passion and shape.
But I do remember one specific conversation with a guy name Jerry. Jerry was the Dean of Men at the Bible College I went to and 1 of 2 very influential men at that school for me (the other being the football coach and Bible teacher, Terry). One day, Jerry said to me – “Why are you going into business, you were made to be a youth pastor? I can totally see it in every aspect of your life and heart.” Then he laighted a little, shrugged and moved on. But I couldn’t shrug off our conversation – it stuck with me and I began to wrestle, pray and get council about this possible direction for my life. Sounds a little more dramatic than it actually was honestly, but 20 years later, I’m still in youth ministry and loving it.
All that to say this: every year I make it a point to ask God to help me interact with a couple students who need to be “called to youth ministry.” I look in our ministry or try to be discerning at an event and talk to a teenager who has the potential to do incredible things as a youth worker. Sometimes it has been spot on and that person is now in youth ministry. Sometimes I’ve missed them altogether and a kid I never expected to be a youth pastor enters the field. Sometimes it is an epic fail and that person leaves the church altogether.
But my win/loss record isn’t what is important – it is the conversation that counts!