So often I am asked what i do for a living. Common question for many conversations. When i am getting a hair cut, at the grocery store, on the phone dealing with my satellite company & also the local starbucks.
So how do you explain youth ministry?
"Oh i hang out with teenagers." sounds off pedophile concerns
"I am a pastor for teenagers" sound very religious
"I am a spiritual developer for the teen to early twenty something generations" sounds like a cult
"I am an architect for an environment where teenagers may encounter the supernatural & experience new phases of life unseen in the natural way we view life" sounds like tom cruise
This really is something i have never been able to understand or articulate. I have have discovered why....after 8 years of youth ministry you cannot describe youth ministry in a title.
Which is one reason we should not hold tight to a title.
We cannot describe the intricacies of the world of youth ministry because the world changes daily. Doctors deal with the same thing, day in & out. Sick people, medicine, xrays & late hours.
Youth ministry is constantly shifting & moving. It changes, paradigms arise &
fall. So in this constant morph of life the only thing we can say is
"i care about the teenagers. I want them to experience some security
in a world that is constantly unsure to them. I care about their
spiritual understanding & experiences in life. I want them to know
that they are created for more than they see. I want them to know that
they are cared for & have a significant place in life. I want to be
able to walk with them in the good & bad times of life. I believe they
are important & valuable."
and yes i have this rehearsed to be said at any time.
If you have any good stories about how you explain youth ministry to the average person outside the church (or in the church for that fact) let me know. Would love to post your thoughts....