Every week this year we are exploring our theme “The People.” Today we hear about….
“The people who energize me”
Rev. Sarah Boberg is the Minister of Youth and Children at First Baptist Church in Red Springs, North Carolina where she serves alongside her husband and pastor, Rev. Bradley Boberg. She and Bradley have an amazing daughter, Scarlet, who has grown to share her parents’ love for church. Sarah is currently working on her PhD at UNCG, where she is studying the call experiences of Baptist women in ministry. If she finds free time, she likes to read, write, and dance.
When I entered the ministry in an official and professional capacity, I was young and excited. I was excited to have my first “real” ministry position. I was excited to finally do what God had called me to do. I was excited to be able to plan events, write Bible studies, and create relationships with the youth of my church. I like many first time ministers, jumped feet first into ministry. I was 23 years old, full of energy, and free of distractions.
However, after serving in ministry for almost 10 years, I have to admit the famous “burn-out” has tried to enter my life and ministry.
I am older. I can no longer play capture the flag like I did when I was in my mid-twenties. It takes me days to recover from all-night lock-ins. My body reminds me I am not as young as I use to be after ski retreats, week-long camps, and mission days.
I now have more “distractions” or responsibilities. When I first entered the ministry it was just my husband and me. He was hired as the Pastor of our church and a few months later I was hired as the Youth Minister. We moved to a small town away from our family and friends. We didn’t have many obligations, except church, so we devoted ourselves fully to our ministry. Now we have a beautiful daughter and our lives require much more balance. I am also a student, which requires a lot of time and energy. As we have grown we have also formed friendships and become involved in ministry opportunities outside of our church.
My life and ministry have changed since I first jumped feet first into this career and lifestyle. However, I am still here because people have continued to energize my passion for ministry.
Jesus, first and foremost energizes me for ministry. When I read the words he spoke, I get excited. I get to be a part of Kingdom work. I get to be a part of the redemptive power of Jesus. I get to be a part of lives transformed and made new. I get to a part of God’s work and love in the world. The call of Jesus to make disciples energizes me.
Church people who affirm and support my call and work energize me. My church has showered me with affirmation and support. They ordained me, affirming my call and gifts as a minister. They have continued to show their support by investing in the youth ministry of our church, not just with great financial support, but also by involving themselves in the lives of our youth.
Adult youth leaders energize me. I am blessed to have worked with some amazing youth leaders over the years. These people work full-time jobs, have families, and other commitments, but still make time to invest in the lives of our youth. Many of them are older than me and they continue to play games, attend retreats, stay-up for lock-ins, and spend weeks with youth at camp. Not only are these adult leaders helping our youth group in their relationships with Christ, they are also growing. I am energized by their willingness to be open with their own faith journeys. I am energized by how they have grown as leaders and followers of Christ.
Youth energize me, obviously, or I wouldn’t be in this specific ministry. Their youth, their energy, their ability to think and question, their open hearts, their want to learn, their want to serve – all of these things energize me. Young people energize me because I see their potential in Christ. I see what they are becoming. They have so much energy and passion, it drives me to be more passionate.
The youth who energize me the most are the ones that get it. I don’t really know how to explain it, but if you have been in youth ministry, you know what I mean. Just recently our Baptist Women led worship. They decided to perform a Worship Through Movement piece that our youth had done for a special youth Sunday. I was so impressed that I didn’t have to do anything at all. One of our seniors took the lead and taught the movement piece to the women. One of the other youth ran sound for them to practice, many times. Another of our youth, stood in and helped as they rehearsed. I wasn’t there for the practices, but one of my youth leaders was. One Saturday she looked around as they were rehearsing and started to cry. She said she realized these three youth were modeling what we had shown – leadership, service, and passion for God’s work. That energizes me.
To watch youth grow from participants to leaders energizes me and increases my passion for this special work. To watch young people grow from self-conscious and shy middle-schoolers to confident seniors in high school energizes me. To watch youth uncover their gifts and go from serving behind the scenes to preaching sermons, energizes me. To watch youth over-come their fears to go on mission energizes me. To watch youth grow from believing in Jesus because of their upbringing to making their faith their own, energizes my passion for youth ministry.
Youth ministry, like all ministry, is hard. There are times I feel the effects of burn-out. There are times I want to scream or hide under my desk. There are even times I question the call of God. However, I am thankful to be surrounded by “such a cloud of witnesses” that energize my passion for youth ministry. I am thankful for Christ, a loving church, dedicated adults, and committed youth who remind me almost every day why I do this work.
So, what energizes you for ministry?