I was not the coolest kid in high school. I am pretty sure that I was not the 300th coolest kid in high school. I was a shy kid who, to a large degree, lacked confidence and cultural awareness. Like most high school kids, I wanted to fit in, and it was actually when I found a healthy student ministry that I finally found my niche.
As the school year starts back, it is time once again to head to the area high schools for lunch. I love these lunches, and they have made a really big impact for our ministry. The students love that I am willing to enter their world and talk to their friends, even the ones who don’t talk to me once I am there. The food is terrible by the way, that has not changed in 11 years.
The funniest thing for me about going to the high schools is that on those days I suddenly become very aware of what I plan on wearing. On days heading to the schools I decide that certain clothes I have are not cool enough or not youth minister-ish enough. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t a little sad. I was telling this to one of my high school students last week, and his response was, “Imagine if you had to do that every day. It’s exhausting.” Man I am glad that is over. It takes a lot of energy to be cool.
So here is the question: are you cool enough to be a student minister? After only being an official youth minister for about a month I attended my first get-together of area student ministers. While it could have been a great time for fellowship, I came away from the meeting extremely discouraged. Half of the other youth ministers had either a mohawk or faux hawk. The rest looked like they were taking a break from their rock band to attend the meeting. I just had jeans and a sweater on with brown boots. I definitely did not leave that meeting feeling cool enough to be a student minister.
It did not take long, however, for me to realize that being cool enough had very little to do with what I wore. I realized that being a cool student minster meant being a minister who was invested in the lives of his or her students, who cared about each of the students and demonstrated that care. To the students who I minister to, it doesn’t matter that I can’t play guitar or that I don’t share their fashion sense. What they care about is knowing that I care. If you love your students, then you are definitely cool enough to be a youth minister.