Monday, November 14, 2011

Please. Help. Me.

I am in a struggle. And I feel compelled to share it with you.

I recently have been feeling drawn back to youth ministry in a local church. But that is as far as I get. Because as soon as I have that thought, I get this image of me being in a job interview, with a pastor asking me what my ministry will look like.


Okay, so parenthetically, I would like to clarify that I am not struggling with my calling… I am struggling with the vision of my calling. I love teenagers and I can’t imagine doing anything else… but its what would the job look like. Get that?

So back to my question… what would my ministry look like? I don’t know. Really, I don’t.

I did the whole Bible study, small group, Sunday morning routine. It was effective at what it was meant to do. But as I have grown and changed soooo much from my time in a local church, I am struggling with figuring out how to reconcile my new passions with what the traditional vision of suburban youth ministry has looked like.

I am passionate about leading hurting people towards the Healing Christ.

And yes, I am speaking about a shift in the paradigm of youth ministry.

Consider this part of my “job interview” but I just don’t give a crap about retreats, concerts, pizza and games. And I won’t pretend to anymore.

Okay, smart alec Andy, so what does it look like?


But I do know that I refuse to waste the money of faithful offering-givers just spinning my wheels doing the same old things that has turned the stereotypical local church completely obsolete. (I am aware that is a huge generalization… apologies to those who make a difference)

So. Please. Help. Me.

Many of you will say, “Andy you are incredible with teenagers and you were born to be in youth ministry. You just have to work with teenagers.”

I say, “Great. I agree. But what should effective ministry look like in the form of a local church youth ministry?”

Anyone? Concrete ideas? What can I tell my future interviewing pastor?


  1. Great to hear your thoughts. You're on to something there. Take a gander at this movie

    It's a jab at the stereotype. But then goes crazy. May help you decipher things.

  2. Where I am currently - and the ministry that is growing my kids into young men and women who own their relationship with Jesus - youth ministry is about one-on-one meetings for coffee or ice cream. Once a month large gatherings, with a youth-led band and programming by the students, for the students.

    Sitting together, up front, during Sunday worship - even if they think it's sort of lame. Small groups scattered all over the county, different nights of the week, with adult and young adult leaders empowered and equipped to facilitate conversations and discussions, where kids speak honestly to one another. They tell the truth to each other.

    It's gathering round an 18-year old who just gave birth to a baby, loving and supporting her knowing that she knows that we're disappointed, but willing to let grace cover her. It's letting kids wrestle with same-sex attraction and pointing them towards Jesus and God's best for them, as we understand it, and trying to build a community that can lovingly stand for truth without condemnation.

    It's missions opportunities every summer - maybe overseas, maybe next door. It's leading ministry into dark places, feeding the homeless.

    It's just being real, right here, where we are. It's not perfect, by any stretch, but it's REAL.

    I think I recognize Jesus in the REAL parts of life more than anywhere else. So does the rest of the world.

    There is hope. Hang in there, wrestle with the vision you have and trust God to connect the dots.

    Love you and fully behind your ministry, whatever shape or form.

  3. I just watched the trailer for that movie and can't handle it. I might flip if I watch the whole movie. I don't know if it would be good or bad :)

  4. You are such an amazing youth pastor Andy and i was honored to be in your youth group. Your ministry to me was inspiring, you tried everything to get the youth group to focus on God and only Him and it worked for me. You can change people's lives by the way you just talk about your love for God, its amazing and it kept me a Christian throughout high school and i don't ever think i thanked you for that. So thank you, i will be praying for you :D

  5. Thanks so much Beth. I probably should have just called you in the first place :) That is really the affirmation that I needed.