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Psalm 23 for Youth Workers

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death*,

*the shadow of death =
fear of losing your job
the small group of parents who want you gone
budget cuts and wondering what’s next

I will fear no evil*,

*evil =
the idea that you’re not good enough
the idea that maybe you’re not called to this
the idea that you’re too old, or too young, or too untrained, or too uncool

for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies*.

*your enemies =
those who spread rumors about you
those who complain anonymously
the lies of the evil one who attempts to seduce teenagers away from the gospel

You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

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Mark Oestreicher is a 30-year veteran of youth ministry, and the former President of Youth Specialties. Marko has written or contributed to more than 50 books, including the much-talked-about Youth Ministry 3.0. Marko is a speaker, author, consultant, and leads the Youth Ministry Coaching Program.