Sunday October 9th is National Pastor Appreciation Day. This day provides us with a wonderful excuse to do something we do everyday at YM360: Celebrate youth workers! One of our core value statements is that "We Serve Relationally." At YM360, we are deeply committed to cultivating relationships with the youth workers we serve. It's a daily privilege for us to celebrate the thousands of amazing youth workers we get the chance to serve.

After all, youth workers are easy to celebrate! It's truly inspiring to see the awesome work that youth workers do day-in and day-out to lead teenagers closer to Christ.

As I thought about celebrating youth workers, I began to think about all the best qualities about the youth workers I've encountered over the last 16 years of working in youth ministry. There's so much I love about youth ministry, and so much of it is tied to the men and women serving in local churches. I jotted down a quick list of things I love to see youth workers doing. See what you think:

I love to see youth workers have vision and execute it.

Youth workers can do youth ministry without a plan. It’s possible. But it’s not optimal. When we step back and really think about it, we have such a limited amount of time to influence students. I love to see youth workers have a vision for what they want to accomplish, and have a plan for how to get it done.

I love to see youth workers assemble awesome teams to get the work done.

I’ve seen youth groups of 5 students and youth groups of 500. From small churches to large churches, I love to see youth workers partner with other adults and empower them to make change. Youth ministry can be done alone. But you can do youth ministry better with someone to help you.

I love that youth workers are constantly learning.

Books. Podcasts. Blog articles. Sermons. Conferences. Local networks. I love how hungry youth workers are to constantly grow in their craft, especially as it pertains to their personal knowledge of God.

I love to see youth workers approaching their calling with professionalism.

We are youth workers, not accountants. If we ever forget that fun is an aspect of what we do, we’ve lost something. And yet . . . I love those youth workers who have the ability to be professional when the moment calls for it.

I love to see youth workers investing in others.

Parents. Adult volunteers. Students. Interns. Other church staffers. The best youth ministers I know intentionally invest in others. These youth workers know an important truth: genuinely investing in other people around them will never return void.

I love how youth workers constantly keep the mission in front of them.

Let’s face it, life is nuts. All of us have our dials stuck on super-fast-paced. I love to watch youth workers keep the mission in front of them−remembering why they do what they do.

I love to watch youth ministers LEAD.

I love watching youth ministers look at students and, in an echo of Paul's words, say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” There's just nothing like it.

And so, to all the youth workers out there daily sacrificing and serving, we celebrate you. We believe in you. We're here for you! And we're cheering you on as you lead teenagers closer to Christ.