In 2017, I had finished my Masters of Divinity and was preaching, teaching, and leading things at my church on a path towards ordination in my denomination. Some personal crises hit and I stepped back from ministry work to heal, grow, and (hopefully) mature on a number of fronts.
After years of therapy and spiritual direction, a global pandemic, and a church merger (and getting married!), I am stepping back into some ministry work, albeit in a way I never expected: youth ministry.
After some discernment and consideration, I’m now the Interim Youth Director at my church.
When I was initially asked, I admit: it was out of left field. I had never seen myself as the “youth pastor” type, or at least the usual stereotype of the adult man-child with lingering frat boy partier energy, or middle-aged men cosplaying as such. (I know that’s incredibly unfair and not characteristic of the vast majority of youth leaders out there, but it is a type.)
More substantively, I am not the kind of person that has any interest in making Christian faith more palatable, less complicated, or easier. I love making its complexity more comprehensible, but not simplified or “easier”, as if that makes youth more likely to maintain their faith. In fact, I’ve seen the opposite. The less complex and flexible your faith, the more brittle, anxious, and fragile it becomes.
(You can probably already see where this is going.)
The longer I took this train of thought, I felt more and more excitement about cultivating this in youth, how important that mindset and ministry could be, and how well suited I actually was for it.Continue reading