We are half way through our summer of top tens! I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. Summer is so busy for youth ministers so hopefully today’s post is encouragement and a reminder of why we do what we do…
“Top 10 things you want youth to learn while in youth ministry”
Josh Beeler is the Associate Pastor for Youth and College at Central Baptist Church of Fountain City in Knoxville, TN. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University and of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Josh is married to his wonderful wife, Sherry, who he enjoys sharing conversation, adventures, and life with. He is ridiculously playful and works daily to maintain his mischievousness. Josh enjoys playing, singing, reading, questioning and laughing with friends.
Seriously, this was by far the hardest blog I’ve contributed to this site. Is it really possible to narrow it down to ten things? After sincerely trying, I don’t think so, but here’s my best attempt at it:
- Youth ministry exists for the sake of the Church—not the other way around. Our task, with the help of your family and congregation, is to help shape you into disciples to continue the reach of the kingdom for years to come.
- I don’t want you to believe what I believe—I want you to learn how to claim a faith of your own.
- God is BIG. You will see God’s truth from many different perspectives in life, and you will meet many disciples who have different understandings of God along the way. This is what it means for faith to be a journey, and you must learn to walk the road with all sorts of people.
- The Bible is a holy collection of encounters with, and thoughts on, God that was written in a particular context. Learn to read it as such, and find ways to apply it healthily in your life with the way of Christ as your primary lens for interpretation.
- It’s okay to ask questions. In fact, your faith will never grow if you don’t.
- It’s okay to have doubts—even in the very goodness of God. Doubt is not the opposite of faith: apathy is.
- The Christian faith is an active one: loving God IS loving others and you are called to radical service for the least of these in the name of Jesus.
- We devote our lives to following the way of Jesus because we believe it to be the fullness of life. So live like it’s true—face the world with joy, hope, and passion.
- ANYTHING can be taught and learned through a game.
- You are loved. Remember these years and learn from them—and know you are always welcome to come back and say hello.
- You were pretty lucky to have such an awesome youth minister. When you realize it, know that he really loves to be taken out for lunch.
Carol Harston has served as Minister to Youth at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, since 2007. Born and raised at Highland, Carol has found the joy of caring for youth in the same community that shaped her as a young person. Outside of youth ministry, Carol has her hands full as a mom to James (4 years old) and Collier (21 months old) and wife to Drew (orthopedic surgery resident and faithful youth volunteer).
- The name of an adult who genuinely lights up when he or she walks in the room and the sense of relief that comes with being known and
- The taste of what it feels like to belong within a group, both with people to follow AND people who demand our gifts be shared.
- The joy of letting loose in a community of belonging and just DANCING.
- The power of a friendship that is comforting enough to invoke our vulnerabilities and strong enough to hold them with us.
- The places and people who are on our side and available to help when life gets too tough to go it on our own.
- The reality that life can be both brutal and beautiful and that living in this reality leads us into the abundant life God dreams for us.
- The reassurance that faith is a life-long journey that requires our endurance, patience, and passion.
- The cross where we find that God meets us in our pain to endure the long night of suffering when all feels lost.
- The resurrection we feel when we wake up and realize that we have survived the longest night and hope still lives.
- The confidence that your most important identity is not based on career, age, wealth, power, or success but is based in the fact that you are a beloved child of God and everyone else is as well.