To show you what I mean, let me give you a list of some of the things I was asked to do during any given month at the churches I served. My tasks included, but were not limited to:
- Planning, directing and executing everything related to student ministry. This usally takes no more than 80 hours a week...
- Serving as the fill-in preacher on rare scheduled occasions and every time the Senior Pastor woke up sick at 6 AM Sunday morning. No one can "wing it" quite like a Youth Pastor!
- Driving the church van for the senior citizens groups and women's groups of the church. Why me? Because I had logged thousands of miles in those vans without incident- and because they knew I would say yes after the Senior Pastor turned them down.
- Playing guitar & leading music during worship when the Contemporary Worship leader was sick or off interviewing at a church that was actually contemporary.
- Teaching the staff how to use word processing programs, data bases and graphic software. In later years, building and maintaining the church website. I knew very little about computers, but "very little" made me the expert of those church staffs.
- Make the wild, creative and envelope pushing suggestions that really rattled staff meetings- then smile as your suggestions were discarded.
- Bringing creativity to worship. I wrote and directed dramas, made videos, introduced new music and taught volunteers how to run Media Shout. And then when they didn't show up, I ran Media Shout!
- Do the "Children's Moment" during Sunday worship. Even at churches where we had a CE Director or Children's Ministry Coordinator, somehow I got this job every week.
- Set up the sound system anytime any one used the Fellowship Hall during the day, because no one else on staff knew how to do it.
- Make suggestions about making the worship service more relevant for teenagers, only to be looked at like you just suggested actually singing the 3rd verse of a hymn...
- Be the one person on staff who worked most every holiday and all summer long, because that's when students have the most available time.
Appreciate your Youth Pastors, my friends. And if you happen to be one- then God bless you! I know the challenges you face and the work load you carry. I would love to be praying for you by name, so leave me a comment and I'll add you to my list. And remember, God sees all that you do that is hidden to the eyes of humans, and your reward is still to come. Keep the faith, my friends!