Gratitude: Why it is the key to youth ministry
If I am honest, I don’t always love working with students. If I am honest, there are days when I would rather be doing anything else other than student ministry. If I am honest, some days I’m not having much fun.
Not because I think I would be happier doing something else per say, but because working in youth ministry is harder than it sounds and it certainly can be a thankless job.
Thanksgiving is that time of year when we slow down and remind ourselves of all the things we are thankful for. It’s when you set aside all the things you could grumble and complain about, maybe even with good reason, and reflect on the good things in life. This year I want to remind myself of all the reasons I am thankful to be in ministry to students because I believe gratitude is the key to doing really effective youth ministry. It’s important because without intentional gratitude, our focus will always remain on the things that aren’t the way we think they ought to be.
So here are three reasons to practice gratitude in your ministry.
1. Your work has eternal impact. While I’m sure every kind of work has some kind of outcome that makes all the effort worthwhile, I would argue no work has the kind of impact as that of youth ministry. The long hours at the lock in, having to explain to the senior pastor why something got broken and that parent who never thinks you can do anything right, are all worth it in the end because you have the opportunity to change the very trajectory of someone’s life now and someone’s eternal destination in the future. So be grateful, your work really matters!
2. Your work is fun. Act like it. What other job do you get to play Fortnite, eat pizza, shoot Nerf guns and talk about Jesus while at the same time getting a pay check for it? If you aren’t having fun… you can start now. Play some games. Plan a movie night. Take a pie to the face. Don’t lose the gift that it is to spend time with fun young people because it’s easier to be a grumpy old person. So be grateful, your work is fun.
3. Your work will feel less like a job and more like a calling. When we are grateful we remember that to serve students of any age is a privilege. There is a different attitude that we have when we see our work at the church as a pay check than when we see it as a calling on our life. What an honor it is for the God of the universe to have chosen us for His redemptive work in the world. If I was God I would have had a different plan. But, I am grateful to be a part of His plan and you should be too.
So this Thanksgiving take a moment to be grateful. Remind yourself about all the good around you and let that good reframe the frustrations and difficulties.