the Monday Morning Debrief: Every adult is a youth minister

I recently caught up with a high school friend who I haven’t seen since we graduated 20 years ago.

“Wait Tom, you have been out of high school for 20 years now?  You are old!  Are you sure you can still do youth ministry?”   

Haha, yes, I am old and I do have to ice down my body after Sunday Night Group now, but I still do youth ministry. Thanks for asking.

Anyways, as we were catching up, I learned some interesting facts about her.  For starters, she first told me how different her “real” life was than from what I saw when we were in high school.  Now, I was pretty naive in high school, but I had no idea all that was going on in her life.  I told her how good she was at hiding it.

But, for the purposes of this blog post, she also told me something that really made me think about ministry.  She told me how she had her high school niece spend the summer with her and was kinda mentoring her over the past year or so.  Why?  Because her niece had a very similar upbringing to hers and she wanted to really help her process her life and hopefully not make some of the same mistakes she made when she was younger.

So, for some time now she has been loving her niece and providing a great influence in her life.  She was speaking the  Truth of Christ into her life and getting her plugged in with a Church and youth program to give her positive encouragement.

That’s youth ministry, isn’t it?  She may not be paid or even a volunteer in a church or ministry group, but she is investing in the life of a teenager and having a positive impact in her life.

And that is the encouragement here!  No matter what they do for a living, every adult has the opportunity and possibility to do youth ministry without having to come to youth group or Sunday School.

The question for us is how do we mobilize those adults into investing in students without having to commit to being on the Student Ministry Team?

For starters and maybe the only input I can have towards this conversation is to give them the vision for what they can be doing in the lives of teenagers.  Not everyone thinks they can be a a “youth minister”.  And that is probably true.  But everyone can invest in the lives of teenagers in a godly way.

Our job is to identify, then inspire and encourage these adults to give what they can and see the huge impact they can have on the teenagers.  I believe that everyone has something they can positively speak into the lives of others with.  And, as a believer, if nothing else, they can speak Christ into the students lives.

So we have to identify these adults, then mobilize them to invest in teens.  So how can we do this the right way?  Have you had any experiences with this?  Post a comment below on what you are doing as I’d love to hear your experiences as you have tried to inspire and encourage adults to invest in the lives of teenagers.

Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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