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One Conversation That Could Change a Student's Life

I am in youth ministry because of one conversation.

OK, that isn’t entirely true — I’m in youth ministry because of a myriad of things: being raised well by godly parents, shaping moments throughout my childhood by amazing Christian men and women, seeing the need for leadership and love in the life of a teenager, my own specific passion and shape.

But I do remember one specific conversation with a guy name Jerry. Jerry was the Dean of Men at the Bible college I went to and one of two very influential men at that school for me (the other being the football coach and Bible teacher, Terry). One day, Jerry said to me — “Why are you going into business, you were made to be a youth pastor? I can totally see it in every aspect of your life and heart.” Then he laughed a little, shrugged and moved on. But I couldn’t shrug off our conversation — it stuck with me and I began to wrestle, pray and get council about this possible direction for my life. Sounds a little more dramatic than it actually was, honestly, but 20 years later, I’m still in youth ministry and loving it.

All that to say this: Every year, I make it a point to ask God to help me interact with a couple of students who need to be “called to youth ministry.” I look in our ministry, or try to be discerning at an event, and talk to a teenager who has the potential to do incredible things as a youth worker. Sometimes it has been spot on and that person is now in youth ministry. Sometimes I’ve missed them altogether and a kid I never expected to be a youth pastor enters the field. Sometimes it is an epic failure and that person leaves the church altogether.

But my win/loss record isn’t what is important — it is the conversation that counts!  

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jgriffin@churchleaders.com'
Josh Griffin is high school pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. He’s the co-counder of DownloadYouthMinistry.com and host of the Youth Ministry Garage Podcast. He's authored more than 20 youth ministry resources and is the author of "99 Thoughts for Small Group Leaders" with Doug Fields. Josh is a father of 4 who speaks a little, podcasts a little, Twitters a bit, and blogs a lot. You can find him at DownloadYouthMinistry.com!