The question of being called to youth ministry can be challenging. I’ve wrestled with it multiple times at multiple stages. So let me share my experiences, plus tips about how to tell if God is calling you to youth ministry.
I first heard God calling me into ministry as a high school senior. Back then, I was trying to figure out if church work was really my plan. While interning near the end of college (with a degree emphasis in youth ministry!), I again wrestled with it.
I loved doing youth ministry but doubted whether I should do it for the rest of my life. I’d be lying if I said the wrestling matches ended when I realized God had indeed called me into youth ministry and I accepted my first full-time position. I revisit the question of calling multiple times a year and continually must evaluate and remind myself.
So, how do you know if you’re called to youth ministry? I’m sure you’ve wondered this multiple times. If you’re just starting out, about to start out, or have been doing youth ministry for years (or decades), this question probably keeps popping up and demanding an answer.
Here are a few ways I know that God has called me to youth ministry. I hope these insights can help you determine if he’s calling you to work with teens too.
Called to Youth Ministry? 3 Factors to Assess
Desire, or passion, is the first giant indicator of whether you’re called to youth ministry. First, do you have a passion for God? Second, do you have a passion for students? You need to answer both questions with a “yes.”
Can you be passionate about God, be called to ministry, have an amazing ministry career and not be passionate about students? Yes, just not in youth ministry. If the answer to either question is “no,” then maybe you have your answer.
What is your motivation for wanting to be in youth ministry? Plenty of poor reasons to be in the field exist. I’ve heard and seen everything from people wanting the popularity of being in charge, to reliving their high school days, to simply just wanting a paycheck. Which, come on, if you’re in youth ministry already, you know it can’t be about the paycheck!
Check out this post (Three Terrible Reasons to Become a Youth Pastor) for more commonly used poor reasons. Ask yourself, “What is my motivation for wanting to be in youth ministry?” If it’s not to reach and guide students into a relationship with Jesus, then maybe you have your answer about your calling.