A collect in the Book of the Common Prayer gets it right when it comes to ministry: “In giving we receive.” I still remember the summer that I received a call to youth ministry. I was involved in a summer program of Rock the World Youth Ministry Alliance in Ambridge, PA called Josiah Project. One of the three ministry components was youth ministry (the other two were cross-cultural ministry and urban/city ministry). Admittedly, youth ministry was the one of the three that I was the least excited about at the time. God changed that very quickly.
I had been working with a team of middle school students at a ministry called The Pittsburgh Project, helping with house repairs in the neighborhood. After a hard day we went to the grocery store to get some ice cream. In front of us there was an older woman who clearly needed help with her bags, but I barely noticed, or if I did I rationalized that I was too tired to do anything about it, and had already “done my ministry” for the day.
Ethan, a 7th grader in our group, was right on top of it. He noticed her need immediately and went to help her to her car with her groceries. It was then that I realized that youth ministry is not just about adults ministering to youth. It is also about youth ministering to adults. And youth and adults ministering together. Ethan led by example when I needed to be led. And he is a huge part of why I am in youth ministry today.
What about you? How have you been blessed by youth that you were ministering with? Or has there been a time when a youth really ministered to you? How have you seen youth leading by example as Ethan did?