This guest post is from Kevin Patterson. Kevin is the Youth Pastor at FBC Dawson Springs, Kentucky. He blogs at Life in The Youth Ministry Fishbowl
I’ve had a roller coaster of year in 2013! The year started off rough because of some really strenuous college classes I had to take. Then I hit an awesome high because I was able to attend Simply Youth Ministry Conference for the first time. Then I took another hit when our senior pastor retired. Then whamo! I hit another high when we took our students to Week of Hope, a week long mission trip.
That being said I’m in another valley. The other week my oldest child gave us an emergency room scare, then my computer crashes, wiping out all of my teaching calendars, sermons, and pretty well all of my youth ministry content. (Upside is I had just purchased a new computer, just hadn’t transfer my files). I have to miss my kids parents night at VBS because of my ‘other’ job. Add to that that I’m in a dry spell in my own walk with Jesus and I’m just ready to scream!
As I was going through my desk, praying I had printed a teaching calendar, I came across my “Care Cards” from Week of Hope. For those unfamiliar with “Care Cards” you can watch this video:
Love that video! They are short notes written by campers. Mine were from my students to me. My students decided to write their names on theirs so each note I got I could name who gave it to me. As I reread the cards, I could recall specific instances of great interaction with these students. Then it hit me. It’s all about the individual student.
Now, of course the number one thing is your walk with God. What I mean is, when you boil youth ministry down to its core, to the base of what its all about. It’s all about the individual student. It’s not about the teaching calendar, or how cool my sermon series graphic is, or how hard the text is to read on my events calendar, or about that stain on the carpet in that one part of the church (I really should let the janitors know about that).
It’s about Schyuler, Tanner, and Eric. My junior high guys small group, who are about to be my high school guys small group who I’ve been with since they were REALLY awkward 7th graders and are now JUST AS awkward Freshmen! It’s about Allison, Callie, Cameron, and Kaitlyn; my wife’s high school girls group who make statements like “I sweat like a man because I AM a man!”
Youth ministry at it’s simplest form: teenager + adult who will give their all to teach about and introduce said teen to Jesus + a healthy dose of the Holy Spirit = great youth ministry.
I think things are looking up for me. My own spiritual fire has been rekindled, we have a great fellowship time coming up tomorrow with some of our students, and we’re hosting a great youth ministry training event in September. So I’d say it’s time to buy my ticket and hop back on board the roller coaster!