Reverse Youth Ministry

Someone said to me recently…”It’s great what you do in schools, But your not in the trenches of youth ministry anymore”.

That hurt! 

I guess that’s true. I haven’t been a full time youth pastor since mid 2010. But, at my last church I oversaw the next generation area and youth ministry has been my passion since 1995. That’s when a church said, “Yeah, come be our youth pastor”! Umm…I was 19! It was Awesome! And Challenging. And Great. And Exciting!

Fast forward to 2013. I started and run a non-profit called Live Now Leadership and we are a education based non-profit. Yup, you read that right. We are not a ‘religious’ based non profit. My hope was that by not attaching that to our By Laws, we would have more open doors in public schools.

What we do is a take a character based assembly message  (Choose Kindness over Bullying) into schools for grades K-12 and we also lead a parent workshop called ‘No More Bullying’.

When I say ‘we’, it’s the fancy way of saying ‘I do’. Teaching 1

Talk about great ministry! I may not be in the ‘trenches’, but wow, I’m right in the schools! Here are some highlights:

  • Sharing the gospel with a principal in his office. Yeah, I’m in the principle’s office a lot lately!
  • Being handed a razor blade from a 13 year girl who was suffering from cutting.
  • Receiving dozens of facebook messages about their stories with bullying.
  • Talking to parent after parent and helping give some practical ideas.
  • Hearing story after story of kids who are working on changing their schools and their homes.
  • Talking with dozens of Pastors and youth pastors who are trying to help their local schools.

So, I may not be int the ‘trenches’ any longer. And, let me say this, there are days when I miss it desperately. I loved leading my boys small groups. Teaching students after week. Raising up students to teach. Leading students to love each other. Building a volunteer team. Training them.

But, I believe I’m still a apart of youth ministry…especially since my daughter will be 13 in 4 weeks!

5 thoughts on “Reverse Youth Ministry

  1. Hmmm … interesting comment from this “someone” about not being in the “tranches” of youth ministry anymore!

    One of my “life mantras” states, “It is better to keep your mouth closed and appear as a fool than to open it up and remove all doubt!” Let me be a little more bold and offer blinding clarity … the person who said this is either ‘incompetent”, “inexperienced” or “stupid”.

    Jason … you ARE in the ‘trenches’ of youth/student ministry!

    If the ‘trench’ is defined as ‘a fulltime vocational position within the four walls of a church or religious institution’ … then ‘no’ … you are not! BUT … if the ‘trench’ is defined as ‘any opportunity to make a difference in the life of a student, their family and their circle of influence’ … then ‘yes’ … you are!

    Jason … you ARE a ‘man of Issachar” (I Chronicles 12:32) … you ‘understand the times and know what to do’!

    Please don’t go back to the ‘trenches’ as defined by ‘someone’. Instead … continue to ‘armor up daily’ (Ephesians 6), be ‘salt and light’ (Matthew 5) and be His ‘ambassador’ (2 Corinthians 5) as you are doing each and every day in order to bring honor and glory to Him AND to fulfill His purpose in your life!

    I love that His story is intersecting with your story and I know that someday you are going to hear those words that we all long to hear … “WELL DONE!”

    NOW … get back to the ‘trenches’ … ‘they’ (NOT ‘someone’) are waiting on you!

    Kevin Winningham

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Kevin that you are, indeed, where God wants you. As I was reading your post I thought, if we’re going to use military terms to describe youth ministry, then church youth ministry is certainly not the trenches. It’s more like basic training. Don’t misunderstand me, I think it’s incredibly important, and rewarding work. But it’s safe. What you are doing is fighting in the trenches, crossing into no-man’s land, and making a frontal assault on the Enemy’s front lines! I’m sure the person meant no disrespect when they made that comment; it just shows how they don’t truly understand what it is you are doing. And don’t kid yourself: when you say “we,” you mean you, Tracie, Bekah, Bob, Zach, and Madie. I love to see how your family is behind you in this, and supporting your mission and ministry. Keep it up, Jason. We’re rooting for you!

  3. Well said Jason. I went from 20 years in youth ministry to being in schools every day as well. I’m more “in the trenches” now than I’ve ever been.

Leave a Reply