Turning a comment into a post

Mark over at Stumbling Toward Divinity recently posted about a possible call to specialize in ministry with youth after he is ordained. He is having the experience of being treated by some as if youth ministry is a “lesser call” or a waste of a good ordination.

As you may know, youth ministry is one of my hot button issues and something I feel a call to do. Here is my comment to Mark. It’s a little bit of a rant and not particularly articulate (sorry Mark) but I feel very strongly about this topic.

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Please, please, please do not let anyone make you doubt your call to minister to youth! This is not “below” an ordained person!

And yes, ministry to youth IS ministry to the whole church. Youth have parents, grandparents, aunts, younger siblings. A church that takes the time to care about its youth is a living, breathing, growing church. People will tell you young people don’t matter. Youth matter. I know you know this, but people will try to make you feel that you are wrong. Youth need advocates who have an inner call, almost like an inner fire driving them to make sure young people are not excluded. People spend lots of time putting teenagers down, often right in front of them. They say they are annoying, pimply, hormonal, irrational, selfish, hyper, obnoxious, clueless, rude, disrespectful. All of these adjectives probably apply to every last one of us sometimes. But teenagers are also beautiful, frank, lively, blessed, intelligent, thoughtful, and full of so much potential it takes my breath away. A pastor with an interest in youth helps the congregation to see these aspects of their young people also.

Never forget that the church is the last intergenerational institution in society. It is in the church that a child with grandparents thousands of miles away can be loved by a grandmother whose own grandchildren are in another state. It is in the church that young people learn about being patient with those who are less able then they. and that older people can mentor the young. It is only in the church that each baby’s baptism is celebrated by a welcoming committee large enough to greet a head of state.

And it is not about being cool or hip or the best friend of everyone in your congregation between the ages of 12 and 19. It’s about presence – being there. Caring. Listening. Laughing together. Sometimes asking the tough questions. Talking about God. Offering love and respect that points to Christ. Isn’t that what most of pastoring any group is about anyway?

Prayers for you as your further discern what your ordained ministry will be.

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~ by Sophia on September 27, 2005.

2 Responses to “Turning a comment into a post”

  1. oh yes… this needed to be said 🙂thank you for saying it!

  2. Well, I have been doing this for more than five months. Since some of comments are great, someone suggested that i turn them into posts. It is hard to waste information and shoud be disseminated to all.

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