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Youth Pastors: Bringing our Youth Closer to God

On Tuesday, I was in Highland Park, Texas to meet with school counselors and talk to student council members at Highland Park High School, just north of Dallas in University Park. What a beautiful community! 

I also had the opportunity to meet with youth pastors from a couple of different churches, and they told me that it was the first time they have ever been brought together. 

My job was to talk to them about their influence on teens – and this talk was a game-changer for me. It was all about getting your life closer to your relationship with God and fulfilling the void that is in our hearts. 

During the course of this talk – I presented several groups of questions that have a direct bearing on the personal growth of our teens. 

What is happiness? What is success? What do happiness and success mean to you? 

The answers are probably different for you than they are for me. They are different for children, different for adults. We all have different responsibilities. 

But how we get to success and happiness hinges on three questions I ask myself every night: 

1)      Is my life meaningful?

2)      Is my life fulfilling?

3)      Is my life rewarding? 

These questions have helped me, and I know they will help you. 

If your version of success is about money, there will likely come a time when you begin to ponder the meaning behind money and wealth. Is it in line with your purpose and your passion? 

We talked about the ultimate goal of youth pastors, which is to bring the kids to God – but there are two more very important questions that we must answer for our young people as the trusted adults in their lives: 

1)      Can I trust you?

2)      Do you care about me? 

As a trusted adult  – whether a teacher, coach or youth pastor, it is our responsibility to build the relationship. When our young people trust us, respect us, value our opinions and know we genuinely care about them, it’s so much easier to be influential and bring them closer to the truth. 

Our kids have everything they need, but often don’t know what they want to live for. One of our jobs is to get them to find their purpose and to understand their identity – and to get them to love not only themselves, but others. 

Ultimately, when we then move toward a selfless and unconditional relationship with our Higher Power, all of our questions are answered: My heart is full. I have meaning. I have fulfillment. My life is rewarding. 

We also talked about expectation versus objective and titles versus testimonies: 

Have you ever been disappointed? Sure. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations. When you live by an objective and not the expectation, you are never going to be disappointed. 

Try not to worry so much about working your tail off to accumulate those titles and initials after your name. People will never really remember you for those things – but long after they bury you and throw dirt in your face, they are going to talk about the person you were and the difference you made in somebody’s life.  

That’s where this fulfillment, this meaning, comes from. That is the God that replaces the void in our hearts. 

Another question: Who is the hardest person to get to know? The answer: Ourselves. 

Get to know who you are and be comfortable with who you are not. When you do that, you start to live a life of grace.