What About Me?
For the past six years, the privilege has been mine to pastor the youth at the North Valley Baptist Church. I count it nothing short of an honor to have this part in equipping the next generation of Christian servants and to work alongside their parents, pastor, Sunday school teachers, Christian school teachers, and others in training these young people for the greater harvest ahead. Because of such a weighty task, I must routinely evaluate my life and the state of my ministry and determine if I am Biblically fulfilling the task before me as their youth pastor.
One area of evaluation centers on my understanding the needs of our teenagers. And while no fault would be had for structuring programs and activities to meet those needs, I believe I must make sure that the pendulum does not only swing one way. My perspective must not only be inward but also outward—a balance between what this ministry can do to help our young people and what they, in turn, can be trained to do for others.
Let us consider what many churches secure for their youth:
- Sunday School Teachers
- Youth Camp
- Youth Conference
- Teen Activities
- Youth Pastor
- Youth Group
- Sports Programs
- Teen Times
Those working with youth far longer than I have would agree that programs and activities are worthwhile and, in many ways, help mold young people into the Christians the Lord wants them to be. However, young man or young lady, I give you this challenge: look beyond what is being done for you and see what YOU can do to serve others. Seek to serve, not be served.
Please understand—I am not implying that teenagers are inherently self-centered. On the contrary, many of us already in the ministry would benefit from attacking our work with the eagerness and fervor typical of the Christian teenager. I do, however, ask each young person to consider this:
- • When was the last time you wrote a note of encouragement to your pastor, youth pastor, or a missionary?
- Who was the last soul you led to Christ?
- When was the last time you volunteered to clean at the church without being prodded by a parent?
- Do you serve in a ministry at your church?
- What was the name of the last visitor you met at church?
- What bus did you last help wash?
- When did you last pass a Bible or a church invitation out?
With these questions mind, let me give you a few practical thoughts that might be a help as you seek to serve those around you.
1. See the need.
Take a moment and look around. You will see that we are living in a world that carries a great need. Too many times, young and old alike cannot see the need because of the distractions of the world, the flesh, and the devil. We might be more concerned about our status on social networking sites. We miss opportunities to help people because of relationships, sports, or other areas of personal interest. When we take time to see what is really happening around us, we will realize that there is something greater and more deserving of our attention.
2. Seize the opportunity.
You only have the opportunity to be a teenager once, yet you do not have to wait until your adult life to start serving God. Just because you are young does not mean you are useless. When you open your Bible, you will be amazed by the number of young people that God used for His work. Did you know that, even today, God will place people in your path to which you can be a blessing? When these opportunities arise, seize them!
“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” (Proverbs 3:27)
3. Serve gladly.
“Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2).
The goal in life is not to be served; the goal is to serve. Our greatest example, Jesus Christ, “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” What a privilege it is to serve the Lord! After you see the need and have seized the opportunity, serve Him cheerfully and happily. Serving the Lord is not a right; it is a privilege. Let me ask you—what kind of spirit do you have when you serve? Instead of looking at service as an obligation, look at it as an opportunity.
Teenager, the question today is not “What can the church, pastor, youth pastor, or my parents do for me?” The question is “What can I do for others?” I hope that these thoughts will be a blessing and an encouragement to you as you seek to live for the Lord. Go out today and make a difference!