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A Letter To Youth Ministers

A Letter To Youth Ministers

[ym360 Note--We asked Sara if she would contribute an article to the ym360 Blog. We liked her voice and her obvious love and concern for teenagers. Sara came back with an unconventional take. We love unconventional. So, here's an "open letter" from Sara to youth workers in the local church. Hope you enjoy.]

Dear Youth Worker, My name is Sara. I work for a para-church ministry in a small community. I run a youth center where students can come after school or in the evenings to be safe and cared for. I love my job and I love my students. I keep telling them about "the church" and urging them to check it out. My prayer is that they will become passionate followers of Jesus Christ and grow into strong men and women of God. But, I need your help.

One of these days, these students may show up at your youth group.I've been praying for that day . . . Could I ask you for a few favors?

Please be welcoming. They're nervous.

They don't really know what this whole "church" thing is about. We've been talking to them about Jesus and we keep telling them how important it is for them to find a church to plug in to. We've finally convinced them to check yours out. Please make sure they feel welcome and noticed. And please invite them back.

Please be understanding if their parents don't attend parent meetings.

Some of the parents we work with are great. They're very involved in their children's lives and do what they can to make sure their teenager succeeds. That's not the case with everyone. Some parents are not as supportive. They will return permission slips but that will be the extent of their involvement. Please don't exclude students because of this.

Please make sure some (or most) of your events are free.

Some of our students come from families who struggle with money. When you say "if the cost is a problem for this event, please let us know," they will be too embarrassed to say anything. They may have even been told by their parents that they shouldn't talk about their money problems. If there areevents that cost money, please provide a way for students to raise the funds themselves. In my experience, if it's important to them, they'll work for it. They just need to have the opportunity.

Most of all, please love them.

I know they're rough around the edges. They're not your stereotypical church kids . . . but they need you. I love them so much . . . enough to know that they need more than what they're going to get at the youth center. I'll do what I can to teach them about Jesus, but I'll never be a church. I can't show them what it means to be part of a body of believers. That's where you come in. I'm so grateful for you and your ministry. Thank you for everything you do. In Christ, Sara 

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