If I Become a Youth Minister

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By God’s grace I am out speaking every Sunday of the school year. Preaching and speaking on the road are a joy and a privilege. But if God told me to stop traveling and to serve as a part-time youth minister, I would.

If a Fort Worth church were to call me as youth minister, I have a pretty good idea what my priorities would be.

The following are listed (imperfectly) in order of importance. They are not listed in chronological order. For example, I would start building relationships with teenagers the first week, even while items higher on the list were underway. The following is just my way of considering which elements of ministry matter most.

1. I increasingly would love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Day by day He would become my primary passion. My increasing love for Him would flow from my gratitude for grace and my celebration of the gospel.
2. Since the Son is the clearest revelation of the Godhead in our day, I would adore Him as my King Regent, enthroned and ruling over all things. At the same time I would celebrate being part of the bride of Christ. I thus would move into deeper intimacy with Him as I look forward to the consummation of our relationship on new earth.
3. I would abide in Christ as I move through the day. I would stay in a running conversation with Him, marked by both awe and intimacy. I would enjoy Him while He enjoys me.
4. I would protect undisturbed time early in the morning to worship King Jesus. I would invite Him to speak to me through His written Word. I would sit in silence and listen for His voice. I would adore Him. I would intercede for people and kingdom issues that seem to be on His heart.
5. Because of my morning worship and my abiding with Christ through the day, I would begin to think and act more as He thinks and acts. I would begin to delight in that which delights Him, and I would grieve over that which grieves Him.
6. In the power of the Spirit, the Father’s glory increasingly would become my consuming mission. I would glorify Him in our relationship and as I join Him in bringing His kingdom on earth.
7. I increasingly would love others as I love myself. I would love deeply my brothers and sisters in Christ. I would love the lost nearby and in the nations. I would love those in need. I would join Christ in turning love into sacrificial action. At His command I would lay down my life for the lost and give all I have to the poor.
8. Daily I would saturate my mind with Scripture. I would allow that wisdom to define my thoughts and actions, my relationships with and leadership of my family, and all my approaches to ministry.
9. I would love individual teenagers in unconditional, grace-filled, and pure ways. I would expect nothing in return. I would use my words and hugs to bless, build up, and encourage each one. As I walk away from them, I would pray I leave behind the aroma of Jesus.
10. I would love individual parents and volunteers in unconditional, grace-filled, and pure ways. I would expect nothing in return. I would use my words and hugs to bless, build up, and encourage each one. As I walk away from them, I would pray I leave behind the aroma of Jesus.
11. In partnership with other spiritual leaders, I would join Christ in leading parents to meet Him, supremely love Him, experience awe at His majesty, become much more transformed into His image, and join Him in bringing His kingdom on earth. I would lead them to be transparent about their life in Christ and to spiritually lead their children in planned and spontaneous ways.
12. In partnership with leaders inside and outside our church, I would teach parents how to parent. I would guide them to desire the glory of Christ and His kingdom as their highest goal in parenting. In order to see transformation and training in parenting, I would assemble parents at least monthly. I would allow ministry priorities to determine church schedules and not the other way around.
13. In partnership with other spiritual leaders, I would join Christ is leading volunteers to meet Him, supremely love Him, experience awe at His majesty, become much more transformed into His image, and join Him in bringing His kingdom on earth. I would lead them to be transparent about their life in Christ and to spiritually lead teenagers in planned and spontaneous ways.
14. In partnership with leaders inside and outside our church, I would teach volunteers how to spiritually lead teenagers. I would guide them to desire the glory of Christ and His kingdom as their highest goal in leadership. In order to see deep transformation and continual training in leadership, I would assemble volunteers weekly. (I would allow ministry priorities to determine church schedules and not the other way around.)
15. In partnership with other spiritual leaders, I would lead members of the congregation to form heart connections with teenagers. I would lead all ages of adults to love individual teenagers in unconditional, grace-filled, and pure ways—expecting nothing in return. I would lead them to use words and hugs to bless, build up, and encourage each one, leaving behind the aroma of Jesus.
16. In partnership with other spiritual leaders, I would make changes to selected programs so that teenagers increasingly experience church in rich relationships with older and younger generations. I would give teenagers and adults ways to serve the church side by side.
17. I would pair every teenager with an older, spiritually alive adult in a long-term prayer partner relationship.
18. I would introduce teenagers to Christ. I would invite teenagers, parents, volunteers, and the congregation to join me in introducing teenagers to Christ. In partnership with other spiritual leaders, I would train believers to share their faith in the power of the Spirit and with the joy of Christ.
19. In partnership with other spiritual leaders, I would challenge and invite many members of the congregation to spiritually prepare and then receive training to disciple teenagers. I would never stop until I had enough volunteers to disciple teenagers in small groups.
20. I would disciple teenagers in single-gender small groups composed of one adult, one spiritually mature junior or senior coleader, and about three teenagers. I would give the groups at least seventy-five minutes to experience community, carefully interpret passages of Scripture, massage truth into the specific lives of those present, welcome and address honest questions and doubt, minister to hurting members, and pray deeply. I would lead volunteers to disciple teenagers so those teenagers are prepared to disciple others the rest of their lives.
21. I would lead parents and volunteers to ensure every teenager knows and understands the basics of the faith, provides a reasoned defense of the faith when needed, sees reality in ways consistent with Scripture, experiences the spiritual disciplines as an overflow of the heart, and increasingly thinks and acts like Jesus.
22. I would lead teenagers, parents, and volunteers to pray deeply. Through Scripture and example I would guide them to praise Jesus with awe at His glory and to talk with Him with warm intimacy. I would lead them to be extravagant in their thanksgiving. I would guide them to intercede for people and situations—primarily to see God’s glory and the coming of His kingdom, rather than asking for quick fixes for every situation.
23. I would lead groups of teenagers, parents, and volunteers to intercede weekly over every element of youth ministry.
24. In partnership with parents and volunteers, I would mobilize teenagers to take the gospel to their families, schools, community, nation, and world. I would model and then lead them to make sacrifices for the sake of the gospel. I would place them in challenging situations that move them beyond their comfort zones.
25. In partnership with parents and volunteers, I would mobilize teenagers to address human needs locally and globally in the name of Jesus Christ. I would model and then lead them to make bold sacrifices for the sake of those in need. I would place them in challenging situations that move them beyond their comfort zones.
26. I would assist other spiritual leaders in planning Sunday morning worship services. My goal would be to draw teenagers increasingly into the experience. I would lead teenagers to see this service as the primary weekly gathering of God’s people.
27. I would provide a weekly worship service for teenagers. I would include the proclamation of Scripture, worship music, deep prayer, and experiences that build community. I would welcome lost teenagers. I would let them hear truth proclaimed boldly, let them observe the worship practices of passionate followers of Christ, and let them be loved in grace-filled ways.
28. In partnership with parents and volunteers, I would provide experiences for teenagers that build community and reflect the abundant life. I would reveal to them that those who think and act like Jesus can experience exuberant joy unknown by the world.

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