Coincidentally (or not), yesterday I had two conversations with ministers who are unsure if their involvement in youth ministry is meant to be a career. I was able to encourage them (hopefully!) by relating something I’ve learned myself over the past few years – and it’s something we can relate to our students, too.

What I’ve come to realize better and better is that learning myself – my own skills and passions, I mean – is extremely helpful in determining a “good job” for me, regardless of what “career path” I’m on. It’s more important for me to recognize that I’m a “systems and operations” guy than for me to think that all my jobs need to have the same title.

This may seem obvious, but I’m not sure our students hear that. Not from their parents, not from their college. We seem to think in terms of “career path” rather than “impact path”; it’s easy to focus on a calling with a name like “Counseling” or “Engineering” or “Youth Ministry” than one with a focus like “Analyzing Systems” or “Encouraging People” or “Equipping People.”

Either route is valid. But what a way to serve our students – by helping them identify those types of jobs or those job descriptions that would allow them to impact the most as they go through life. These days, students are likely to change “careers” a lot over the next ten years (or fifty years) anyway. But if they’ve zeroed in – or begun to zero in – on how God seems to use them most, they’ll be well ahead of those who haven’t prayed this through.