I pastor teenagers.
I have for nineteen years now. Some things about this calling aren’t great, frankly. I struggle at times with the way Church (for clarification, I’m not referring specifically to the church I serve at, but the Church in general) politics and bureaucracy work. It upsets me the way the Church seems to be a haven for gossips (people who think they have it all figured out and are more than happy to tell everyone but you how it is). I get frustrated when the Church seems to miss the point of the Gospel and gets caught up in building its own kingdom instead of God’s. And sometimes those things make my job discouraging.
But most times, I’m pretty sure I have the best job in the world.
Tonight is one of those times.
For some people, any job that had anything about “teenagers” in the job description would be cause for anxiety and trepidation. Not me. I think teens are amazing. Any phase along the developmental journey of a kid has its challenges, and adolescence is no exception. But I think teens get a bad rap. They’re just like any of us. They need to be loved and told they’re loved. They need respect. They need accountability and leadership. They need at least one friend they can really count on. They need a sense of purpose. They need guidance and direction. Just like you. Just like me.
This week I got to hang out at the beach with the coolest group of teenagers on the planet. Here’s what I saw…
- Teens leading by example through their attitude, enthusiasm, and commitment to each other.
- Teens who make me laugh as much as any other people in my life.
- Teens who took chances by opening their hearts to build friendships with people they didn’t know.
- Teens who were courageous enough to talk about and cry about their hurts and struggles.
- Teens who prayed for each other’s hurts and struggles, aloud and with great compassion.
- Teens who danced with hearts full of joy.
- Teens who competed with determination and great spirit.
- Teens who are beginning to understand the limitless power of God. And how they can access that power to fulfill their unique and eternal purpose.
- Teens who are talented, filled with confidence, and poised to change the world.
I’m not wealthy by the world’s standards. God always takes care of my family’s needs. But I don’t own a luxury car, HD TV, expensive clothes, or even an iPad 2.
But what I do have is the opportunity to lead this amazing family of teens, and adults who care about teens. I get to see God move in their hearts and lives on a regular basis. I get to partner with parents in raising a generation of students that is going to help guide the church back to the true heart of the Gospel.
It’s the best job in the world.
And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.