Remind me again why I do youth ministry

– By guest blogger Chris Lassiter

I just had a “Remind me again why I do urban youth ministry” type of week.

Our annual camping trip hit some major snags. Money came up missing. Curfews were missed. We even had a few physical altercations. Collectively, I had more challenges in one week than I’ve had  in the past 10 year’s worth of camp trips.

In urban youth ministry, these weeks happen. It’s par for the course. Trying to avoid them would be like Kanye West trying to avoid photographers at an awards show.

Besides the fact I love the kids I work with – even when it’s challenging – two things keep me going in ministry rather than going to apply for jobs in corporate America.

1.  The promises in scripture.

All youth workers should have I Corinthians 15:58 tattooed on their hearts:

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

It’s here that Paul shares with the church in Corinth a promise for all believers. Our labor for the Lord is never in vain. No matter how bad things seem, God promises that even the smallest initiative we take on His behalf never gets wasted.

2.  Remembering that this isn’t the final chapter for these kids.

You may know Curtis Allen as a pastor at the Solid Rock Church in Prince Georges County, Md. Or you may know him as the Christian rap artist Voice. During a recent sermon, Allen shared part of his story with his congregation.

“At age 16, I genuinely responded to a gospel invitation. Six months later, I was baptized, and I was baptized as a believer. I was reading my Bible; had a relationship with the Lord. I was a legitimate Christian.

“But over the course of time, I was too proud, I was too popular in high school. I was too many things, and I began to fall away. I spent the next eight years pursuing the streets. I did more sins in those years than I had did growing up probably.

“I got into a situation where I was facing the rest of my life in prison. And God grabbed me, and brought me back. Now, 14 years later, here I am a pastor in this church.”

(Full sermon here.)

Here’s the question: Is God big enough to do that with our kids, too?

Like many of you, I’ve worked with kids who have ended up in prison. If we’re honest, when our kids sink that low, we tend to cross pastor off of their list of possible careers paths. But that’s where God is different from us. He specializes in turning modern-day Saul’s into modern-day Paul’s.

Allen’s testimony is one that reminds us that because God doesn’t give up on kids, we shouldn’t either.

In our line of work, there are just going to be tough weeks. That’s reality. In those times, let these two truths carry you through.

Bonus Video: Heidelberg Catechism (Live), by Voice

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