One aspect of our youth mission trip that makes me proud as a pastor is the joyful enthusiasm our adult mentors bring to the trip. Tonya Bushard, Brian Wright, and Terri Nelson agreed early on to accompany the youth as “chaperones,” but they are so much more. They are fully engaged in the mission, participating in all the activities and encouraging the youth to be open to God’s Spirit. They are mentors, demonstrating how to trust, live and serve as a follower of Jesus Christ.
When I was in high school, my youth group advisors were Jerry and Nada Torgerson. They opened their hearts and their home to the dozen or more high school youth who participated in our congregation. They took us to special youth rallies at Lutheran Bible Institute in Seattle, packing more than the legal limit into their station wagon. They organized backpacking trips into the Olympic Mountains. They shared scripture and prayer and modeled the Christian life. They were a big influence in my call to pastoral ministry.
Mentoring youth needs to be a high priority in congregation like Resurrection. As a congregation we pledge at every baptism to guide and assist our children and youth as they grow into adult followers of Jesus Christ. Many have embraced this pledge by being Sunday school teachers, confirmation guides and Vacation Bible Adventure mentors. Others participate in more informal ways, praying for and encouraging our youth. Mentoring youth is a congregational ministry that cannot be left solely to a professional youth director or pastor. All of us need to use our unique gifts and strengths to raise up children of God.
How are you participating in the ministry to children and youth?
Lord Jesus, show me ways to encourage and support children and youth as they grow in you.