I gotta tell you working in youth ministry can get just a little frustrating at times. Alright, it can be frustrating most of the time. It seems to me that teenager just never do get it. I guess that is part of the growing process and part of why I love to work with them because the few times that they do get it are amazing, but on the whole they are way to concerned with their own needs to see what is going on around them.

Alright I’m not telling you guys anything you don’t already know, but just to make you feel better let me give you a story that I am sure you can relate too. I have this worship service on Friday nights that is very experiential. It is a good experience and one that I really want lost kids to come to because I think they can learn a whole lot about God from them, but it isn’t the easiest first time event. It requires an awful lot of someone who has never been in church and it isn’t the most explained thing we do. Even still I do want lots of people to come because I believe that their alone time with God is important.

I also think that some other types of worship: high impact type things are probably a better entry point for a first timer. Maybe I am wrong about this and my kids are trying to tell me something, but I don’t think so. Anyway, so I had some older students wanting to be involved in our Junior High worship time so this month I combined the two meetings I added the high impact messy games to the Friday night worship time hoping to help our students invite their friends and reach out to people who wouldn’t normally attend.

So Friday night the people start arriving and I look around and notice that some of my key leaders aren’t there. Now you have to understand that these are students who have come to me with their desire to reach out to their friends and who have expressly said that they want to help break down barriers in our youth group. So anyway, these guys aren’t there so I begin to ask around an find out that they are all at one girls house hanging out and watching movies.

So here are people who have said that they want their friends to come to church and who want to help reach out across clique lines in our group sitting in a house with their own little clique when I have spent all week planning an even designed to share the gospel with these friends that they express such concern for.

So when I call one of these students and ask them why they miss they are upset with me and say that I have hurt their feelings because I questioned why they weren’t there.

The whole time I want to scream! I hurt your feelings! What do you think I feel when you guys don’t wait a night to watch movies, but do it on the one night of the month when we have something special at church? Don’t you know that I did all of this for you and for your friends! Don’t you know that it is here that the people you said you wanted to reach out to are! Don’t you know that this is Eufaula and there never is anything to do on Friday night so I am doing this just so that you can have some good alternatives and I would much rather be at the movies with my wife, but because I love you guys and because I believe that God has commissioned me to reach every teenager in Eufaula I am killing myself to do just that, but I can’t do it if you don’t get off your butt and help me!

That is what I want to scream, but I don’t, because no matter how much I try to say it, and no matter how many different ways I try to say it nothing will change. Because teenagers just can’t see outside of their own little universe, and I guess that is OK and I know that it is to be expected and I will keep doing what I have to do and keep doing what God leads me to do and every now and then one of them will for a moment raise their eyes beyond their own little world and see the world outside and reach out in love and even though that moment will be fleeting, that moment is always worth all of the heartache and frustration it takes to get there.

Or at least I hope it will be because I’m not getting paid enough if it isn’t.

4 thoughts on “Frustration

  • March 8, 2005 at 2:05 PM

    Shane, I wish students would see this. Moreso than that, I wish I had seen this side of a youth minister when I was in high school.

  • March 9, 2005 at 9:30 PM

    I just would like to say I can totally understand where your frustation comes from. I am currently going to school to try to get my degree in youth ministry, and this is a more recent dream. I chose this path about three years ago, but I have always been a christian. Anayways, your story reminded me a lot of when I was in junior high and senior high youth ministry and how I would see my fellow friends and students skip youth ministry on important days, that was supposely something they were really concern with.I was wondering if I could send some questions for you to answer for my college research paper, that could help me understand this career a lot better, and make sure that I really want to go into this field for a life-long-career. If this is alright please feel free to email me back with the permission to do so.Thanks.

  • March 24, 2005 at 8:39 PM

    For some reason, I can relate to your story. I am not a youth leader nor a pastor, I am just a “member” of a church that used to have a really great youth group or more like a team.

    It all started when I, a 17-year-old non-christian girl, began to attend a Christian church. The Youth pastor, named Ezequiel, was cool. He got along with every young person in his youth team even with people he barely met. For some reason, he had to leave church and so another Youth pastor was appointed, his name: Tito.

    Well, I began to think I wasn’t going to get along with him because I had never cross a word with him. But I was wrong. Pastor Tito decided when to meet for the youth service and call everyone. He was so excited and you could literally see the “glow” in his eyes. To tell you the truth, the first service was fabulous. We had so much fun. But to make a long story short, people were starting to make excuses and attendance gradually declined. “How sad!,” I thought. :( He tried to do as much as he could but either they were ocuppied with school or work (they just didn’t have time for GOD!)

    I’ve been thinking how Pastor Tito feels and reading your story just opened my eyes even more. As much as ONE person tries to teach the youth that GOD is ALWAYS first he or she is never going to fulfill that purpose alone. We have to be together and work as the BODY of CHRIST to acomplish that. It took me a long time to understand that but I have come to ackowledge that GOD has a time for everything. He is never too late nor too early.


    I would like to tell you to keep working hard in everything you do to push God’s kingdom further. Don’t give up because God will recompensate your hard effort!!


  • May 19, 2005 at 2:27 PM

    Wow Shane. I know this was months ago, but I never knew you thought about us like that. You failed to mention one thing: We are CONSTANTLY coming to church and all the functions that come along with it. God forbid we would miss one thing. In case you didn’t know, the reason we missed this one meeting was because on that ONE night that we missed, we were having a girl’s night with our friend, Veronica, a foreign exchange student who was returning to Uraguay THAT week. It was our LAST chance to spend time with her, and we couldn’t have put it off one night for you. We would have if we could.

    I apologize for letting you down so much.


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