Steven: Every now and then, we as youth workers get phone calls we don’t want to get. For me, yesterday was one of those calls. I had a parent of one of my students call me at work to let me know that there was a serious problem that had happened with her son, and she needed help. She had come to a point where she really didn’t know what else to do, so she called me. To be honest, it was a new situation that I hadn’t dealt with before, but I knew that just by being present in the situation it would help tremendously.
The situation ended up well, but I took away a huge learning from what happened. If I had not made myself available to the students in my group or the parents of those students, I would not be getting a call like the one I got today. If we want to do ministry right, we have to be willing to make ourselves available to those who we minister to. I had to leave work for an hour yesterday to be present in a tough situation, but sometimes that’s what it takes to do ministry right.
Matt: God often uses ministry moments not only to grow students but also to grow us. As you mature as a youth worker you see these situations not as problems but as God using an opportunity to not only help a student through a crisis but also to stretch and grow us in our faith. I’ve had students with problems and they either don’t follow the advice I gave them or they do and still can’t fix their problem. I used to think of this as a failure on my part, but now I realize it’s more about God’s amazing and perfect timing.
The fact that you make yourself available to students or to parents means you want to be more than just a “Tuesday night Bible Study Leader.” I not only want to be there for my students, I want them to know they can count on me. In a broken world with broken people I want them to know they have someone they know they can reach out to for help or just to be there to listen. Sometimes just listening does more to fix a problem than anything. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the answers because God does!