Rooted Recommends: Confessions of a Former Youth Minister

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Longtime Rooted friend and onetime youth minister David Zahl and Mockingbird Ministries have been showing up on the Rooted blog in 2021! Last week we shared Zahl’s insightful workshop from the 2020 conference and an excerpt from Mockingbird’s excellent new devotional. Last week Zahl’s article “Confessions of a Former Youth Minister” posted on the Mockingbird website, and it’s too good not to share.

For those working in the youth ministry trenches, Zahl’s reflections will encourage you that while the work is hard and heartbreaking and often thankless, in some ways, “these are the good old days.”

It could just be that I was fortunate enough to be a part of a youth ministry that held God’s grace at the center. (The benefit of “evangelistic” summer camps is that you can usually be guaranteed of hearing the basic Gospel message). But on a purely perfunctory level, youth ministries are places where teenagers sit around exploring life’s biggest questions, talking about things like death and salvation and forgiveness and romance and sin and all sorts of stuff they can’t talk about in other settings. It’s a place where you get a sense of something larger than yourself.

What’s more, you get to be a kid, which means you get to play and be silly, long after it’s deemed appropriate to do so.

Zahl offers this encouragement: whether God leads you into a lifetime of youth ministry or takes you through a season of it, the Gospel you share and the relationships Jesus fosters in His work will bear “fruit that [continues] to blossom.”

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