ARLINGTON—Youth ministry isn’t easy. It demands long hours, unending energy, incredible patience and deep commitment, speakers noted at Conclave, a Texas Baptist training event for ministers to students. And that’s why it requires a calling from God and a commitment to persevere.
“Our business is kingdom business, and our gaze should always point true north,” said Mike Satterfield, teaching pastor of Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington.
As youth ministers interact with students, their parents and church leaders, they will experience times of frustration and disappointment. People are frail and flawed, and they will fall short of God’s expectations, speakers noted.
When shortcomings appear, that’s when Christ followers face decisions, said Timothy Ateek, executive director of Vertical Ministries in Waco. Christian ministers can choose what sometimes “feels best”—striking out at someone in anger, looking at inappropriate images on a cell phone or some other destructive behavior—or do what God calls them to do.
“Will you choose love for God or rebellion against him?” Ateek said. “This is the decision we have to make every day.”
Satterfield echoed Ateek, challenging youth ministers to live out their faith daily. “Practice what you preach. Here’s the problem, Conclave: We have gotten so good at coaching, we have forgotten how to play the game,” he said.
Being able to follow God begins with a proper relationship with God, Satterfield stressed.
Once that bond is strong, Ateek encouraged youth ministers to live in spiritual community, having at least one accountability partner.
“If you don’t have the vertical, the horizontal (plane) will never be right,” Satterfield said.