If you've already read this post, please read the recently added disclaimer at the bottom! Gracias!!
Why do people make it sound like it will be such a waste if I become a pastor whose focus is youth ministry? It sometimes sounds as if I don't use my gifts for the entire church, then I'm somehow squandering or wasting or misdirecting them. Ministry to/with/alongside youth IS ministry to the whole church! I think that the church becomes a one-eared Mickey Mouse when you have the pastors, who minister to the "whole church" (we'll talk about that in a second) and then you have the youth director who is in charge of the youth stuff. That is what fragments and separates the youth from the rest of the church body. But if the youth see the person who had a lock-in with them or who took them out for coffee or who is willing to sit and chat and listen to them up in front of the church preaching or administering communion, then I think they're more likely to feel as if they are a valued and valuable part of the community.
Before I took my job as a youth director many moons ago, one of the co-pastors at the church was very much involved in youth ministry. She led a lot of the Bible studies, planned some of the activities, and chaired the youth ministry committee. The minute I came on board, she dropped all of that (except for chairing the youth ministry committee, but that's because she wanted me to know that she was still my boss). As soon as there was someone else to do the work, involvement in the youth program became the lowest thing on her list of priorities. What kind of message is that sending the youth?
Being a youth pastor WILL NOT be a waste of my gifts. It does not mean that I cannot or will not be able to do ministry to/with/alongside the rest of the people gathered in that congregation. What I think it means is that as a pastor called to the entire congregation, one of my main objectives will be to minister to the youth and include them wholeheartedly in the ministry of the rest of the church.
That being said, I still am not sure what I'm going to put on my paperwork...Disclaimer: While there may be references to various comments I have received, I hope that no one who took the time to comment on my previous blog feels as if they are being accused or that their advice was not taken to heart. This entry is in response to many of the things that people have said to me, of which the comments on my blog are only a small part. I appreciate it when people take the time to read and comment on my thoughts and ideas and rants and raves, so please continue to do so, even if I seem to misinterpret your intent!! :)