© 2015 Jules

The Varied Adventures of a Youth Herder

I’m just gonna come out and say it: I work for a church.  Hopefully I didn’t just lose half my audience, because I know church is a polarizing topic.  Here’s a redeeming fact to all those unsure about my declaration of churchyness: I work with the teenagers at said church.  And teenagers, pretty much, rock.  I’ll even provide you with five reasons why teenagers rock:

1. They are honest with me, sometimes brutally so (see point 2).

2. They keep me hip. Hop. Hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop and you don’t stop a rock it… (Ok, I didn’t say they had eradicated my outdated tendencies. Hopefully they can appreciate some Sugarhill glory like the rest of us.)   They just tell me things that I wouldn’t have otherwise known.  Like the fact that wearing Tom’s Shoes is a cool trend, especially because for every pair you buy, one gets donated to a kid without shoes.  So I got some Toms, and I rocked them.  But my feet got cold, so I wore them with socks.  At which point I was promptly informed, with a teenaged expression of disdain, that it’s not hip to wear socks with Toms.  Check.

3. They like to play.  Yesterday we played volleyball for over an hour on a make-shift court of uneven pavement, grass and bark with a clothesline for a net.  And it was a blast.

4. They know how to work hard.  When they decide it is a good cause, these kids bust their butts and totally impress me with their work ethic.

5.  They will eat an entire bowl of candy in one sitting without judging anyone.

Youth Director/Youth Herder

Youth Director/Youth Herder

My technical title is quite a mouthful: Jr./Sr. High Youth Director.  I even have an office with a nametag outside it proving my claim.  I prefer the title Youth Herder.  When I think director I think of the guy in front of the choir waving a baton to keep time to the music, or a police officer waving his arms to direct traffic.  That’s not me.   Much of my job is to provide food and an open door.  Teenagers are a lot like a herd, they move together in wild patterns with a powerful combined force.  I get to wrangle them together on a safe route and search for stragglers.

In my capacity as a Youth Herder I have quite an array of duties.  I teach the Bible, I mentor students one on one, I shop for snacks, plan games, choreograph dance routines, answer midnight text messages, eat ice cream, plan fundraisers, keep up with pop-culture, track bomb threats, attend football games, award scholarships… The list goes on.

I plan to write about my varied adventures in youth ministry here on my blog. I know this is a new-ish direction for my writing, but since my last post prior to today was, oh about TWO YEARS AGO, I’d say a little revamp is in order.  Since many of my students are minors I will keep things anonymous, but I know I will have plenty of fodder for these posts.  So thanks for hanging in there and see you soon!

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