“What I truly love about working with Senior High youth is witnessing the moments when they grasp the importance of Jesus in their lives.” Minister to Senior Youth, Jeremy Becker, takes a moment to express what it means to serve the ever-evolving senior high student.
Working with Senior High youth has been a great blessing in my life. These youth have the ability to converse and function at an adult level in many ways, yet they long to have fun and socialize like younger kids. Ministry to this age group can be quite exciting. I have had a youth share deep insights on how he feels about political candidates marketing faith in campaigns only to later fire an amazing spitball across the room at one of his friends. I bet most people don’t experience that at their staff meetings with adults.
Recently, I led my congregation’s annual senior youth lock-in. (I have found that both parents and my wife appreciate that I only do this once a year.) Every year, it’s a similar deal: youth have fun getting together to play games, watch movies, and lose at Nintendo for 12 hours straight. Yet in the midst of the apparent chaos, a conversation focuses on how we can display our faith to others throughout the world, or youth find themselves talking about working together with other Christians to share Jesus’ love both among those they know and to those they don’t. Where do these thoughts come from? It’s a Senior High youth thing. While Senior High youth want to have fun and be entertained, they are developing their views of the world and how their faith fits into that picture.
I admit that not every Senior High youth in my group sees the priorities of living out his or her faith on a daily basis, but it’s exciting to help guide them in the process. What I truly love about working with Senior High youth is witnessing the moments when they grasp the importance of Jesus in their lives. They’ve heard the Sunday school stories and they know the answers. They went forward for Children’s messages and participated in the Christmas service every year. But even after all this, they don’t always get it. Helping a Senior High youth begin to understand what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ helps me grow more in my faith, too.
Last year, a group of 11th-grade students in my group began to understand their relationship with their Savior in a deeper way. The Spirit gave them the desire to help lead others in worship and praise, and a Youth-Led worship team formed and began to meet every Wednesday to plan to lead one worship service every month. The youth put together the music and parts of the liturgy and met with different members of our staff to better understand worship. The youth also worked to involve others, both young and old alike, encouraging them to use their gifts to worship Jesus.
I realize that the youth in my group only spend a short span in their lives as members of our youth program, but it is my prayer that they remain on fire for their Savior so that they can influence others through the love of Christ in the same way they have influenced me.