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Love Lessons: What I Learn From Spending Time With Teenagers


I love spending one-on-one time with teens in my youth ministry. Recently I reorganized my schedule to spend more time with leaders as well as students. That may seem like a no-brainer for a youth minister. But it’s amazing how quickly time can slip by doing other important church-related tasks.

Being with kids and investing in them is why I’m in ministry. I forget that sometimes, so the occasional restructure is in order. Maybe you need one too?

If you think you don’t have the 5 extra hours to sit face to face with the people you’re called to lead and invest in, then read this blog. Thanks, Aaron, for such a fantastic post! We all need these clarion calls.

Love Teens Where They’re At (Literally)

I love being with teenagers in their environments at school. One on one, I hear reminders of where they were and what they were doing before coming to hear a 20-minute message on Wednesday nights. I discover what I’m really asking when I request they consider not eating for 30 hours.

Today, as I walked to a cafeteria table with the sweetest young lady, she asked, “Why do you want to spend all your money on us?” I’m glad I got to answer her, because it was a great reminder for me to say it out loud.

“I want to spend time with you whenever I can because sometimes at church I don’t get to have a personal conversation, and it matters to me how you’re doing. It’s worth some lunch money. You are worth some lunch money.”

Later she told me how she decorated her room in a wolf theme. And how she got an ice cream sandwich for Christmas. She paused just long enough to let me squirm in the “I have no idea what you’re talking about youth pastor stare.” Then she half-smiled and let me know it’s an android tablet. Cool!

She wanted to know so much about me, including my hobbies and what I liked most about church. She really got me thinking! This amazing girl wanted to know my likes and dislikes. Who takes so much interest in another human being like that? Teenagers do.

What I Love About Teenagers

I love how teens are in the moment and how they listen. How they can jump from one topic to the next. I love how forgiving they are. I love being with them.