In college, I decided I wanted to be a preacher and not a youth pastor. With that said, in every ministry where I have been the pastor, I have also helped with the youth group. I have been a sponsor, a Sunday school teacher, a small group leader, and a teacher through the years. Tonight, I will start another year working with teenagers, possibly my final one, as my youngest son will be graduating next spring.
Through the years, I have enjoyed my time working with the kids but have most enjoyed the volunteers who come to help every week. These selfless people donate hours of their time to work with Jr. high and High school teenagers, many of whom they do not know well. They talk and ask questions. They befriend and pray. They care and try to help every kid who walks through the doors. It is a thankless job that only a handful of brave people accept. With each week, they are slowly changing the world, if only for one or two teens.
Frequently I ask adults about who has had the most significant impact on their faith. Quite often, their response is focused on their parents. Then I inquire as to anyone else that might come to mind. They usually give me the name of a Sunday School teacher or a youth group volunteer. Their eyes brighten as they speak of this person’s love, kindness, compassion, and faith.
This group of servants may not get their name on the Church sign. They may never be mentioned as the single biggest influence in anyone’s life, but our young people notice their efforts. The next generation needs to see someone saying the same things as their parents and preacher.
Tonight kicks off another year of youth group and who knows how this year will go. With all the COVID stuff, it might end at any time. Even if we complete a full season of meetings, the time is fleeting. Soon the seniors will drive away to college, and our times together will become a distant memory. My prayers are for those wonderful adults who give up their time for Jesus to make an impact on the next generation. May they be the light that these young people need.