For the past few weeks, I’ve been pondering what it means to lead from my core values. As part of the Youth Ministry Coaching Program, I am learning what it means to live and lead from the heartbeat God has placed deep within my soul.

My first two values are:
1. The God life is the best life
2. My wife comes first

My third value is Teenagers Matter to God. It’s another obvious one, I am a youth pastor after all. Why wouldn’t I have something about teens in my core values? But this goes deeper than my vocation and profession. It goes beyond my love for youth ministry.

I can honestly say that at times in ministry I have loved “Youth Ministry” more than I have loved teens themselves. I get caught up the act of being cutting edge and having the cool ministry. During these times, I’m doing ministry, but I am far from my value of loving students. When I am most alive (feel God’s presence most), I am being helping teens, their families and our volunteers love Jesus more. When I lose sight of this and focus on the bright lights of “ministry” I’m far from the vision God has placed in my DNA.

As my heart for students has grown over the years I want to embody the idea that teenagers matter to God. As a result I am willing and able to join God wherever he is engaging teenagers. This means that I:

1. Partner with parents more. God is using families to reach next generation for Himself so I need to work hand in hand with families in order to care for students.
2. Partner with other ministries. My ministry isn’t the only place where teenagers encounter God and I have to be OK with that.
3. Give away my ministry more. I used to think my passion for students would make me a one-man-army. Instead it made me an ineffective leader. If teens matter to God then I am willing to find anyone I can to join me in the cause of bringing Jesus to them.

Last weekend we had an awesome weekend purity retreat. We had the highest turnout we’ve ever had for this retreat, but we also had the biggest turnout for leaders we’ve ever had. That meant that I didn’t get to lead a specific small group. At first it was weird for me. It felt like I wasn’t caring for students because I wasn’t leading a group ( even though I got to hang out with students). As I reflect on the weekend, having more leaders and stepping back meant that MORE people were able to taste what I already know. Because I let other people lead, more people experienced the reality that TEENAGERS MATTER TO GOD. This is one way where this value is shaping my ministry in new ways.