Graduations Are Bitter Sweet

by Justin Hardcastle

The success of a youth ministry is based on how well you spend your time with your students. Each one is directly impacted by the other. It is always a great experience when the graduates are involved in the church weekly. Nothing that thrills my heart more as a youth pastor than students who desire to spend time with me after they graduate and who call me their friend. When this happens, I know all of the good times are remembered and all of the bad times are considered times of learning.

Graduation is all about the transition from student to adult, but we must take the time to remember we are all students. Not a month goes by where I have not been challenged. In fact, I am constantly learning something new. Sometimes we see those who we minister to as our students, but we must take the time to recognize what each student has to teach us. I know sometimes I learn more about loving better, serving better, listening better, or even managing patience better. In any event, we must all come to recognize that we are constantly being taught and challenged by those around us.

Being the best youth pastor is not about being the best planner or organizer. Being the best youth pastor is about the little things that you do to build genuine relationships with students. Do you remember when children came to Jesus, and the disciples were trying to usher them away?! Jesus told the disciples to let them come. Jesus spent time with the children. The way I imagine Jesus at this little gathering was taking the time to make them feel they were the most special children in the world. We too should take the time to let our students know they are the most important in the world. As this new year approaches, I plan on stepping up my “super ninja youth pastor skills” and becoming even better at just letting students know that they are the most special in the world. Would you do the same?

Graduates are special. They remind me to be better, to do better, and to live better. Let youth ministry transform you!

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