Hope makes humanity unique.
No matter how bad things may look, you can always choose hope.
Hope is the reason a widow can smile at her spouses funeral. And hope is the reason a woman living in a tent can shock you with a smile and call out to God with thanksgiving when she is destitute.
Hope is the fire that brings warmth to your heart during your darkest hour.
The way I see it, hope is winning in the lives of many friends in youth ministry right now.
The last few years have rattled us to our core as two realities crushed our confidence:
- We realized that the way/methods/modes we experienced youth group and even came into a relationship with Jesus weren’t effectively reaching the students in our lives in the ways or with the veracity we had grown used to.
- The economic crisis changed, foundationally, the way our ministry was financed. Many of us lost our jobs or were forced (or given the opportunity) to take on additional responsibilities in the church.
While, from a humanist perspective, those crushing realities should have devastated youth ministry, I think it has made youth ministry better. When circumstances should have snuffed out the dreams of our heart, hope blew a steady, gentle breath onto the embers, igniting the flame once again.
From my perspective this last period of youth ministry has brought about two amazing things which I aim to demonstrate more vividly in the months to come:
- Youth ministry was never truly about a model anyway. Youth workers have created fresh ways to share Jesus’ love with adolescents built on the best practices of “what we grew up on” and melded into the needs of individual communities we serve.
- Youth ministry was always a calling as much as a vocation. When the money got cut back and even when people lost their jobs– they still chose to minister to adolescents because that is who they are more than what they were hired to do.
So, here we are! We have run the gauntlet and survived! Circumstances can not snuff out hope!
I am snubbing my nose at those who have declared youth ministry dead. Swooned? Maybe. Knocked down? Definitely. Humbled? You bet.
But giving up? Never.