It is a humbling thing to gather with other youth workers. And the larger the gathering, the more humbling the experience. This is because most of the time we are living in our little world. In this context, we are on top, the best at what we do. We have several dozen students that we work with who count on us, whom we are called to walk through this crazy season of life with. While I have my several dozen students and you have your several dozen students, there are still more then 10,000 other youth workers also working with their several dozen students. Among our thousands and thousands of colleagues, we realize that we are average, in the middle. We are not the main stage speaker or the mega-church youth pastor, and we are not the slacker who only plays video games and keeps a sloppy office.
We are the great middle of our profession. The people who love students and want them to love Jesus. The people who faithfully give our lives year in and year out to this calling. Our talks are average, our games are average, and our jokes are probably below average. But to the specific students we are called, we are invaluable to them and their spiritual and emotional development!
Youth ministry is not a ladder to climb but rather it is developing a web of colleagues who love working with students. This is a vital calling because we are not called to get to the top or to be the best in our industry. We are called to pour our lives into specific students in our specific context.
This blog is about accepting that there isn't a top in student ministry. It is about being uniquely you and living into the unique calling in the unique context with your unique gifts and history. And since there are a ton of quality youth workers out there, why not settle in and enjoy that we are among friends. Be satisfied with doing average youth ministry.
Being average isn't an excuse to be sloppy or unintentional. It is a reminder that we are called to servant leadership, called to be only a part of the body, usually a more common part of the body. Instead of living with angst because we aren't in a position of power or notoriety, we join together with our fellow average and common youth workers to faithfully live out or special and unique calling.