There is a mythology that student ministers LOVE to perpetuate. It’s a mythology that has roots in reality, but frankly has taken on a life of its own. It’s become part of our framing story.

When youth workers get together we love to share stories about how we are the disrespected and cast off ones in our churches. We bemoan getting none of the credit and all of the blame. We long for opportunities to “lead up” and “speak into leadership” about what direction we think the church should go. Yes, there are many youth workers who serve in churches that treat them horribly, and I grieve with them, but is that really the case for EVERYONE? And what are we going to do if that never changes?

Many others, including myself, struggle with having status among other youth workers. We want to have a “greater voice” that leads to book deals and speaking gigs. We feel that status equals validation.

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting these things. We all want to know what we’re doing matters to others. But when wanting these things becomes part of our core motivation it becomes an unhealthy obsession.

I wonder how many youth pastors who tell their teens not to worry about what others think about them are secretly obsessing with what their Senior Pastors or Elder Boards think of them.

Maybe we could use a dose of our own truth. The truth is that our status is already firmly cemented in the Kingdom of God and it’s not based on our church size or ministry reach.

David, King of Israel, came to this conclusion about his status:

“What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?” (Psalm 8:4 NLT)

David is floored by the fact that God would notice him at all. This is a King after all, he had arrived to a place of ultimate status, but that’s not what fed his heart. I am convinced that being noticed by God trumps being overlooked by others.

Paul, reflecting on his own ministry came to his own realization about status.

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:16-17 ESV, emphasis mine)

God not only notices us in our lowly state, he ELEVATES us to a place of honor. We are co-heirs with Jesus! That means all the rights, privileges and status that Jesus enjoys are ours as well.

I’d love for youth workers to change their mythology of status and start believing the truth that in Christ we have been given the place of ultimate status in God’s economy.

God not only notices us, He elevates us. Even when we don’t have the position we want in our churches, we have the position we NEED in the kingdom. So, let’s walk with our heads held high today. And please let’s stop defining our tribe by our LACK of earthly status and start celebrating the overflow of our heavenly one.

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