The Stuff You Can't Talk About
In youth ministry, we love to talk about and share all of the fun stuff - the events and retreats that we lead. We love to share the wins - when kids meet Jesus, are baptized, when new people start coming out.
We’ll even share about some of the tough things - the stuff that maybe people know about anyway.
But, there’s a whole other side of youth ministry that we don't talk much about - because we can't. There are phone calls and meetings that stay confidential. There are situations you know about that you can’t discuss with just anyone. There are people you’re journeying with where you might be the only other person in the world that they’ve talked to.
I’d tell you about some of the ones I’m walking through at the moment but, well, they’re confidential.
Every scenario is different. Sometimes its a kid struggling at school. Sometimes it’s a family falling apart. It could be addictions that need to be conquered, abuse that needs to be dealt with, depression that needs to be treated, I could go on. It could be and has been almost anything. And, if you’ve been in ministry for any length of time, i’m sure you could add plenty to the list.
Each story you’re trusted with, each person you journey with comes with a burden to bear. There's something unique - and intense - about carrying a spiritual burden for the kids you work with. It's hard to explain beyond saying that there's a weight that comes with it. People outside of ministry don’t get it. And, when they ask you what you do all day you can’t tell them much about this stuff so you talk about event planning, message prep, and hanging out with students. When they make a thinly veiled jab that it 'must be nice to work one day a week.' You smile, laugh it off, then check your phone to see a message from another kid who needs you.
Other people might not get it or see it. But, that’s irrelevant. Jesus sees it. We serve a Risen King. He’s there in every conversation, in every tough moment, in every hug you give and prayer you offer up. He sees the late night phone calls and when you check your messages one last time before going to bed to see if that kid replied. He sees the sleep you lose over them.
Jesus sees what you do - and he’s so proud of you.