I’m a CEO. Why I volunteer.

Did you know if you put a Reese’s PB Cup on your smores it’ll rock your world? This is the night that happened for me.

It’s true. I have 50 employees in 3 states. I have millions of dollars that needs to be raised annually for the non-profit that I run. I’m married and still have a teenager at home. Fact is, I’m a busy person, and so are you.

And I volunteer every week in my church’s youth ministry, here’s why:

1. Volunteering with teens has helped me become a better parent – Being around teenagers has helped me learn how to relate to teenagers in general, how to have conversations – and learn what issues they’re dealing with. It’s also helped me learn what is normal developmentally and helps me freak out about the right things, instead of over-reacting about the wrong stuff.

2. The church needs parents in to be involved in youth ministry – I was a youth pastor for about 5 years before I had children of my own. I always thought I understood the relationship between parents and their children, but after I had my firstborn…. WHOA! I really understood it! I suddenly understood why parents freaked out about safety issues, about transportation, about who was supervising, about getting home late. I now get why some go off on coaches, and teachers, and Little League umpires, and youth pastors. Not that it make’s it okay, but I get it.

3. Teenagers need positive older male role models – this generation has been called a “fatherless generation.” Men are by-in-large gone from daily involvement in their teenager’s lives. Even the ones who have a father figure in the home, often are not engaged in relationship with them.  I used to think that my best days as a youth worker were  when I was in my early 20s; as a kind of big brother to teenagers. But now that I am the age of their parents, I am enjoying the STRONGEST platform I have ever had for youth ministry. Young men and young women alike need a responsible appropriate adult male in their world.

4. Teenagers need to see functioning marriages – Heidi & I have been married for 24 yrs. That’s like 172 in dog years. Our 17 yr. old son brings his friends over all the time.  We encourage them to stay for dinner. We invite them to watch a DVD with us. We ask them to tag along while we walk the dog. Many people want to mysticise discipleship but it’s really not that difficult and neither is youth ministry.  Teenagers need to see Godly men and women, responding to everyday situations, through the lens of the Gospel, from someone who loves them deeply.

And at the end of the day, that’s why I volunteer with teenagers in my church. As Christ followers we are to follow Christ in His mission.  In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus commissions all would call themselves Christians to go and make disciples. You do not have to disciple teenagers. But if you call yourself a Christian, you’d better be discipling someone. I’m choosing to disciple teenagers and those who work with them. I invite you to do the same.

Think back on your life for a moment… who was it that influenced you as a teenager?

What did they do to influence you?


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