I spent close to 10 years in youth ministry - ministering to middle and high school students - but that's been quite a while ago. I've had the opportunity to speak to some youth groups and minister in college settings since then, but things have changed - drastically!
My college roommate is still in youth ministry and I admire that. There are others that I know that have stayed in it for the long haul - for me, it was honestly a season of preparation for the next season that God had for me.
So, I've been thinking about some values that I would pass along to those that minister to students - if you're a student minister, I'd love to hear your input - am I off base, out of my league, close, or dead-one (doubtful about that).
But before I tell you what the five values are - here's why I feel I'm qualified to speak about this: I have a teenage son - that's called OJT.
- Talk -spend time talking with teens - that means listening! What is it like in their world. Go where they are, listen to what they listen to, see what they see - that's what Jesus did.
- Text - it's the language they use. Get over your hangups and stop making excuses about not knowing how, it being too timely to learn, etc - it's not about you. It's about reaching them. Learn to text and you learn more than you could ever imagine. Teens, by the way, are still suspicious of twitter.
- Time - teens need time. Time with you, time with people that care about them, time to process, time to grow, time to believe - time!
- Transfer - help them know they are world changers. Transfer a belief in them that helps them see that they are valuable and will make a huge difference. Transfer some belief, some confidence and some ability for them to make a difference
- Truth - teens are hungry for the truth - are you ready to give it to them? They will question everything - that's not so bad. In fact, it'll make them a more formidable force for world change to see the life of Christ lived out because they will own it.