Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I heart youth ministry

Each week I am more convinced that my call involves ministry to youth in some way. I definitely still feel called to ordained ministry, and have had some meaningful experiences lately with older adults. But many of these everyday parish ministry experiences don't quite fill me the way working with youth does. I also realize that ministry is a lot about serving and giving of oneself, but if you're not also filling/energizing yourself with something you love, eventually there will be nothing left to give.
Youth are full of energy and I can't help but let it affect me when I'm around them. I can be my goofy self around youth and they might think I'm a little weird, but its ok, because they will still accept me and not be concerned about whether a pastor-in-training should be acting silly. Plus I think sometimes if they see an adult acting silly it gives them permission to do so as well and to let their guard down. Adolescence is hard (I definitely remember my own and I would NOT want to go through that again!) and I believe that youth need to hear that God loves them and we love them just the way they are. I also think its important to advocate for them. I've found myself in a few conversations among adults lately that were making disparaging comments about youth and I lovingly suggested that maybe they didn't have all their facts straight. Even when I get frustrated with them (like last night at Confirmation class when they were especially ornery), its hard to stay that way, because I absolutely love the youth of my internship congregation. And I LOVE youth ministry.

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