A couple of weeks ago Forbes Magazine polled workers from over 400 different careers and asked these workers if they felt that their work provided meaning in their lives and if they felt their job changed the world. The survey data was collected and used to created a metric for the world’s most meaningful jobs. The results that followed produced a 3-way tie for most meaningful job: orthopedic surgeon, police chief and youth minister.
As a guy who has been in youth ministry for 9 years, initially I was surprised to see a ranking THAT high. Yet, I as I reflected on the last 9 years, I started to think about the reasons that make youth ministry so remarkable. Here’s my 5 reasons why youth ministry is truly the world’s most meaningful job.
1) The fun factor
Chubby bunny. Dodgeball. Lock-ins. Knowing you don’t have to stop going to camp. Youth ministry offers up multiple opportunities every year for even the most grizzled youth ministry veteran to be a big kid. While youth ministry isn’t all fun and games, it is truly a blessing to be able to laugh and have fun at your job day after day.
2) Every day is a new day
Being a youth pastor is never, ever, ever boring. Every day brings something new to the way it will take shape. In almost a decade of youth ministry, I think I’ve done about anything as an offical duty of my job. From changing tires, to sermon prep, to taking kids to the hospital all the way to wrangling a black snake out of church with my bare feet. This job is never dull and rarely redundant. It is exciting to wake up each day to see what God will unfold.
3) I can always bring my family to work
Some jobs have “Bring Your Kid To Work Day.” As a youth pastor, I bring my kid to work on a lot of days. And not only does my wife come to work with me, but she gets to do my job alongside me. It is an awesome thing to watch my wife pouring herself into young women. Its a greater blessing to watch these young women love on my 3 year old like he was their own brother. I don’t have to worry about bringing my work home because my whole family gets to come to work with me and be a part of the vision of the ministry.
4) The beauty of discipleship
One of the most remarkable aspects of youth ministry is that much of the impact and true discipleship happens outside of the walls of church. There’s meeting a kid at 6 am for breakfast so we can talk through the depths of the book of James. It’s praying over a crying student who has just lost a family member. It is the tears of joy when a student leads one of their friends to Christ. Much of the fruit of student ministry comes in life moments and not pre-programmed church events during the week. The investment of time is heavy, but the fruit of that toil is so very sweet.
5) I am part of God’s plan
The most meaningful aspect of this job? God chose me. A man filled with weakness. A man scared of crowds. A man who has had a lifelong struggles with self-doubt. He chose me as a vessel of His grace, to carry His good news to a generation starved for hope and love. God called me to protect and encourage His bride, the Church. My Boss is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. My Boss fearfully and wonderfully made me. My Boss saved me. My Boss loves me like few words can describe.
Simply put – I love my job.