As I thinking about my years as a youth pastor, I came under the realization that I stink at it. Was it because I was unfriendly? No. Was it because I hated the job? No, although some parents and church members did not make it easy for me.
Here are three reasons why I stink at youth ministry:
1. I am not an entertainer.
I love having a good time with teenagers whether it is having a fellowship at Taco Bell or just hanging out. Yes, I have done fun activities with teenagers, but I am not an entertainer. I try to do magic tricks to get students' attention or have amazing guitar skills. In fact, I have no musical ability whatsoever yet some churches want their youth pastors to know some instrument. Did not know I was going into worship ministry too. I am not a clown, although I can be one when I am with friends. I did not go into youth ministry as an entertainer, but to equip students for ministry. I was never tempted to shout out, "Are you not entertained?" like Maximus did in Gladiator.
2. I don't have a "great" testimony.
I didn't come from a life of drugs or family dysfunction that God saved out of. I was not in a gang, didn't get into fights at school, or had a near death experience. I don't have cool stories about myself to tell the students so they can relate. I was not into much at school during my teenager years except being the president of my Christian club. Yeah, they I had the label of Jesus Freak before dc Talk made it sound cool in 1995. I was not an athlete (there goes my connection with football players), yet I watch sports, which is not enough with some churches. My testimony is God redeeming me from my rebellious nature which is the testimony of every Christian. What led us to Christ maybe different, but the story is the same. In youth ministry, a great testimony "sells", which has been in my experience.
3. I teach the Bible.
Not saying youth pastors do not teach the Bible, but in my experience teaching the Bible does not make you a great youth pastor. Wednesday nights always draws the crowds which is time to teach the Bible, yet some pastors I have worked with did not want that. Confused? So was I. I thought the main purpose of having a Wednesday night youth service was to teach the Bible, but it was not in some church member's mind. I will never forget hearing a deacon commenting they are glad the youth are at the church. The problem is while I was teaching to a small group, a majority of students were outside with no adult supervision whatsoever and the church was okay with that. One church told me I needed to tone down my teaching because one female student did not like it. Not a majority. One student. She ended up being the church's teenager who was spoiled by the church as if they adopted her.
There you have it. I stink in youth ministry for those reasons. If you are a youth pastor reading this, don't be discouraged about youth ministry. Love it, enjoy it. and thank God for your ministry.