Uniqueness in Ministry


By Brian Mateer

brian and shawnLast week, I had the opportunity to host my friend, and fellow 30 Hour Famine blogger, Shawn Kiger’s youth group for a short term mission trip at my church.  It was the first opportunity I have had to interact significantly with teenagers since transitioning a year ago from a youth ministry position to my current role as director of missions.

I really enjoyed my time with the youth and adults from Wrights Chapel UMC in Ladysmith, VA, helping to coordinate mission projects for them.  On the surface they seemed like a typical youth group, but after having spent the week with them I realized this group was unique.

Two students from the group have disabilities and were empowered and loved for their abilities within the group.  The interaction and inclusion of these individuals by the youth and leaders was powerful and beautiful to witness.  The senior pastor came as a humble participant leader interacting with students.  He was fully engaged with the mission projects and during times of sharing, without the need to be at the center.  Shawn’s wife and children came along on the trip and were seamlessly integrated within the entire group.

Here are a few of my thoughts and observations after being with this group of youth and leaders.

  • The future of the church is in good hands as youth leaders get more thoughtful about ministry (which often comes with experience).
  • Longevity in ministry can be a tremendous gift to a church and leader.
  • There is great beauty in inclusivity within a youth group community and the church can learn from this.
  • Interaction of a senior pastor with youth from their church creates a bond and breaks down barriers.
  • Middle school girls are taller and more mature than middle school boys and the latter should bathe more often.
  • A youth leader with a spouse and children present in the ministry can be a great way to model a healthy Christian family and life.
  • One of the most exciting moments in ministry is witnessing an epiphany from a teenager while being pushed from their comfort zone.
  • Creating times for mixed ages in youth ministry is a great opportunity for mentorship and leadership practice.
  • Middle schoolers are awkward and awesome all at the same time.
  • Parents can make great youth leaders and  volunteers.
  • Adolescents can be so different but at the same time similar.
  • Youth ministry will always hold a special place within my heart.

What makes your ministry unique?