Thoughts on Youth Ministry.

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been in full-time youth ministry for three months now. And honestly, it feels like I’ve been doing this job forever—which I think is a good thing!

Even my boss said, “Feels like you’ve been here 10 years.” (Choosing to take that remark as a compliment, although it’s debatable.)

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Be cautious when a middle schooler offers to paint “war stripes” on your face during a game of capture the flag. You could end up like me…with a giant Tesla logo on your forehead.

That being said, the transition to full-time ministry has not been seamless. It’s been a little tricky going from a corporate job, where the name of the game is tasks, to a ministry position, where it’s all about building relationships. I often feel like I’m not doing enough. Or, I feel totally worn out from meeting up with so many people. To be completely honest, ministry requires a balance of relationship building and rest that I haven’t yet mastered.

What I’ve come to realize is that ministry and corporate jobs cannot really be compared. They are so different, yet both so important. Still, in the 3-ish months that I’ve worked for my church, I’ve picked up some insights on the transition from the two worlds, so, without further ado, here are my thoughts:

  1. Ministry can be frustrating at times for Type-A personalities. 
    Those who know me probably wouldn’t peg me as a Type-A gal. But, when it comes to a work environment, I totally am. I love to-do lists, busy work, and that oh-so-glorious feeling of finishing a project. Call me crazy, but I love tasks! For that reason, I initially struggled a bit in my ministry roll. My new job was to build relationships with students and their families. Well, that can’t be accomplished by plugging in my headphones, pulling out a to-do list, and getting to work. It takes time. It takes trust. It takes patience. It takes a lot of prayer. As a Type-A worker, I’ve had to shift my thinking from a “What can I get done today?” mentality to a “How can I best serve God and love these students?” train of thought.
  2. You’ll have so much more flexibility in your schedule.
    Who doesn’t love a flexible schedule? That being said, it can be overwhelming to not have a set schedule. Again, this goes back to me being more Type-A than I had realized. I love that I have the freedom to leave the office and hang with students, but with that comes some pretty weird ministry hours (I’m looking at you, 12 hour lock-in). When I worked in a corporate job, my schedule was set exactly the same, everyday. It wasn’t ideal, but at least I knew what to expect from week-to-week. Don’t get me wrong—I would 100% take the ministry flexible schedule over my old 8am-5:30pm day, but it’s still taken some time to get used to the new hours.
  3. Your team is everything.
    I repeat: your team is EVERYTHING. I honestly don’t know how I’d do it without even one member of my team. We all have unique strengths that help us work as a cohesive unit. Plus, they are such fun, encouraging, godly people. My team is a gift and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
  4. You will look goofy all the time, and you will learn to love it.

    Again, that team of mine is pure gold.
  5. You’ll care about your students more than you could ever dream.
    Ok, not to be overly mushy, but the amount I care about the students I work with is seriously off the charts. (Can’t say I ever felt “off the charts” about anything in my corporate job…)  I desperately long for the students to know Jesus and to know that they have been created for a purpose. It’s an honor to be let into their world—to be just a tiny part of their lives over the course of their 5th-8th grade years. Also, whoever says middle schoolers are lame is crazy; they are the greatest people I know.

I often wonder what the next few years have in store. And not just for me, or even for this ministry, but for the world in which we live. Things change so fast and the world is quickly becoming a verrrrrry scary place. But you know what? I’m just grateful that the Lord put me here—in Dallas, TX, working with middle schoolers at a church—for such a time as this.

Currently listening to “Cherry Wine (Live)” by Hozier

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