Veteran Youth Pastors are Full of It…

….or so I was told this weekend by my dear friend and young youth pastor.  While I know that most people believe this statement to be true of me – I was completely offended on behalf of my brethren vets!  After clarifying his statement – I realized it was a badge of honor he was pinning to my chest!

Veteran YPs are full of….experience.  We’ve lived it – and undoubtedly have at least three dozen T-shirts to show for it.  Not only are we in the trenches – in a lot of cases, we dug those trenches ourselves.  We’ve walked more than a mile in those shoes – and some of those miles we probably ran…barefooted….in the snow….uphill both ways.

Veteran YPs are full of….mistakes.  We haven’t always gotten it right – and we still don’t.  Periodically we lose receipts….or kids on a mountain during summer camp.  Sometimes we plan a really spiritual event that flops…or our own retreat-version of UFC that, while lacking in depth and holiness, goes down in history as the best youth ministry event ever.  Occasionally the budget doesn’t balance…nor do our family commitments.  We’re still learning.

Veteran YPs are full of….it.  You may know it as ‘the call.’  It’s the ‘it’ that keeps us in when our joints and muscles drive us out.  It’s the ‘it’ that brings a smile to our face when we’re asked for the 1,437th time when we’re gonna become a real pastor.  It’s the ‘it’ that makes us see promise – and Jesus – in teenagers when most people see problems – and that other one.

Veteran youth pastors are most assuredly full of it.  If you’re working in youth ministry – you should get close and see if you can get some of it on you.

Real Stories from SYMC #9

Bill Holleran.

This guy is a true veteran – gray hair and all!!  I remember after spending some time with Bill thinking a) this guy might be in his 50’s, but he is still SO relevant to students, and b) I hope I can be him when I grow up.  People have been informing me I was getting ‘too old’ for youth ministry since I was 30.  Thirteen years later (you do the math) I know that not to be true.  Bill (and others like him) prove every day that your body has nothing on your heart, brain, and Spirit when it comes to student ministry.  And here’s what I truly love about Bill – he’s not that dopey, grand-fatherly youth guy who kids love like they love their family dog….just because he’s been around for so long they can’t remember a time without him.  Kids connect with Bill because he’s all up in their business.  He KNOWS them.  He ENGAGES them.  He LOVES them.

You can be better at doing those things, regardless of your age, by attending the Simply Youth Ministry Conference.  And Bill can challenge you to stay in it for the long haul.

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