Next week, my church is hosting Vacation Bible School. I will be heavily involved, leading one of the "stations" through which children will rotate throughout the morning.
I will spend the following week counseling middle schoolers at our church camp in the San Bernardino mountains.
I believe it is important for a pastor to be involved in his/her congregation's ministry to youth, even if the congregation is fortunate enough to have a youth director or minister. There are a number of reasons for this:
- Unless a pastor is specifically designated as a youth pastor or a pastor to seniors or some other demographic group, he or she is the pastor to the whole congregation. That includes youth. I've heard pastors say "I don't work with youth." Well, you might as well say, "I don't work with soccer moms," or "I don't work with middle-aged men."
- Youth need to be connected to their pastor, especially if there is no youth pastor. A lay youth director is a wonderful person, but there still needs to be some connection to a pastor.
- Pastors can learn a lot from youth. It's so easy to sit at our desks, pondering deep theological things, or attend the many adult functions that are often formal and polite. But youth, more so than adults, tend to "say it like it is." They can help a pastor learn how to be "real," and how to make all those "deep theological things" real as well.
- Youth have a passion and energy that is so desperately needed in the church today. Fortunately, much of that passion and energy is contagious.
- Many youth are dealing with extremely difficult issues or are in tough situations, and our society provides very little moral or spiritual guidance to young people.