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God's Work or My Work? What is Ministry to Teens?

About this article

This article explores what role the minister has in bringing the Gospel to young people.

It had been a very successful year for the youth ministry program in the parish. Young people where involved everywhere in the church, adult volunteers were both plentiful and dedicated, and young people were being transformed. But I was perplexed. I really knew that ministry was up to God, not me. God was saving these young people, not me. If I had never become a youth minister, these young people would still be cherished by the Lord and in a relationship with him. I knew that it was God's work, not mine. But then I thought, "What I am I doing in youth ministry? More fundamentally, what is ministry?"

On my way down to a year-end retreat with the leaders of the youth program, some thoughts occurred to me. First, I was filled with thanksgiving for being called into ministry with young people. I was in a unique situation in being able to walk closely with young people and see God's activity in their lives. On the heels of that thought, I found what my call in ministry was. I am to be in touch with God's activity in my life so that I may help others recognize his activity in theirs. It is God's work. But I do have a role in that work. I was called to help the young people in our parish recognize God's activity. In recognizing his activity, they could better cooperate.

Here are some thoughts I offer to you:

1. Recognize that ministry is God's work.

2. Spend time nurturing your own prayer life. By learning how God works in you, you can better help others recognize his work in theirs.

3. Get to know the Saints. We can learn how God is moving in us by seeing how he has moved in the great women and men of old.

4. Ministry is not about programs. It is about relationships. Foster individual relationships with those to whom you minister. You will learn God's activity in them and they will learn his activity in you.

Acknowledgments

Copyright © 2009 Saint Mary's Press. Permission is granted for this article to be freely used for classroom or campus ministry purposes; however, it may not be republished in any form without the explicit permission of Saint Mary's Press. For more resources to support your ministry, call 800-533-8095 or visit our Web site at www.smp.org.

Published August 15, 2003.