When you’re a youth director, you feel inadequate about 60-ish percent of the time. If you’re me.
I took the job two years ago with a very slight clue of how to go about it. My goal was to maintain the smoothest transition possible and uphold the normal youth traditions of nerf wars, lock-ins and the like. However, I also wanted to try new activities and test reactions. It’s been a slow process.
I say that inadequacy easily dwells in this role because it’s easy to compare myself against other youth leaders. I’ve seen a youth group at Starbucks slurping frappes with their bibles open every Sunday that I’ve been there and thought, “Oh, they’re so much holier than us. We just shoot each other with nerf guns.” On the mission trip a few weeks ago, the leaders got together and two adult men from another group insisted on more serious chapel times and less programming. Sure, I organized some group reflection times that had some seriously great conversation, but in that moment, I felt like a little, inadequate and inexperienced youth leader.
Fortunately, I didn’t get stuck in that place. Because on that last evening of the trip, my seven youth and seven adults gathered for our last time. We talked about fears conquered and goals achieved, confidence boosted and hearts opened. And for the first time in a long time, I knew I needed to stay. Not in North Carolina, but right beside my youth for another year.
In this job, and largely due to that trip, I’ve been able to witness what cool things happen when the younger people of the church serve others, in turn challenging themselves. I’ve seen how they respond to leadership roles. And I’ve learned that simply listening to their most sincere thoughts is a ministry in itself.
I don’t need a master’s degree in theology and 20+ years of experience, and frankly, my youth don’t need that either. I’m really glad Thomas will now be able to join me for our events. He will be a great help. Plus, the guys (and I think the girls, secretly) love him.
This coming fall, things will be different. I’m in the brainstorming phase of restructuring our meetings and figuring out just where this group is headed. The possibilities excite me, and I can’t wait to get started.
To see all the mission trip pictures, visit this link.