“What do you do?” On an airplane, at the beauty salon, at a soccer game–we often receive this standard question. Yet our answer is anything but standard. How do you respond to the inquiry of your profession? “I am a Youth Minister.” “I am a Director of Christian Education.” “I work for the church.” Any of those answers usually evoke a quizzical look. As women in ministry we have a unique role. We have more than a job, we have a calling. And this calling is a job that I love. How much do I love this work? Let me count the ways.
1. I love this job because I like people. You can’t be happy in the ministry if you don’t like people. Sure we work with programs, goals and curriculums, but it’s the people who we minister to and with that makes our profession so fulfilling. God created such a vast array of personalities that I can never tire teaching confirmation class. I am fascinated as I watch their personal and spiritual growth over the years. I love to chat with the lady from the altar guild who has been cleaning up communion for 22 years. I am glad I can be there to listen to a dad who is struggling with his teenager’s addiction. These are God’s people; sinners and saints. I have been blessed to be able to serve them as part of my job.
2. I receive spiritual nourishment even on the job. I love to prepare for Bible Studies; get out various translations, do word studies, read commentaries. Every time I do, the Word blesses my spirit. I have spent significant amounts of time studying the Bible as a part of my professional work day and God has imprinted his Word on my spirit. It’s great that our main manual as women in ministry is God’s manual.
3. Being in ministry means we share in a work that is lasting. I know that God uses me as his instrument to plant seeds, to water the soil, to nurture growth, and to pull weeds. I am grateful to be a part of this eternal growth plan. We have purpose and meaning we have as we work in God’s church!
4. I don’t know about you, but I think being a youth worker is fun. And I love to have fun. Traveling to servant events, National Youth Gatherings, and amusement parks, is such fun. Retreats, camping trips, mission experiences, skiing, Vacation Bible School, and doing children’s messages all bring me great joy. Sure it’s work involving great responsibility, but I love leading others in fun experiences.
5. Finally, youth ministry is about building relationships. Jesus didn’t come to this earth to live in a vacuum, away from the messiness of people. He got right in there and built relationships with all kinds of people. It’s great that our work isn’t ultimately about tasks. Being in ministry is so fulfilling, and yes trying too, because we are building discipling relationships in the name of our loving relational God.
I don’t pretend that this work is without its heartaches and frustrations. Working in the church brings its own set of challenges and problems. I know that there are fellow workers who are struggling. I pray that God will give them perseverance, strength and courage to keep serving Him. Ultimately, I pray that God increases the joy of working in His church.
I love my job. I love that it is more than a career, it’s a calling. It is what God made me to be. How could we not love what we do? We are women working for God in His specially designed institution; the church.