Adult involvement in youth ministry is important. Adults who are willing to share the journey with youth play a meaningful role in their spiritual development. They can provide a listening, sympathetic ear, a sounding board, be able to give sound advice when asked, and be people with whom youth study the Scriptures and share in acts of worship and other spiritual practices. Youth are thrilled when an older person in interested enough in them to journey with them and will speak of the impact such people have on their spiritual growth. However, as adults, it is important to realize that in ourselves we have nothing to offer. It is only as we remain connected with and growing in Christ that God can use us to positively impact youth in a deep rather than superficial way. As OMG: A Youth Ministry Handbook, ed Kenda Creasy Dean puts it, “As our lives and our hearts become more closely aligned to Christ’s, young people experience God’s suffering love for them through us” (Dean 2010, 49). This shows that when who we are at the core of our being is in line with who Christ is God can work through us so that youth become acquainted with God’s suffering love. This isn’t about perfection but about rootedness in God. And so we can pray this ancient prayer together:
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9-10.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor