My role as a youth worker is to live, honestly, my own journey toward Christlikeness with and in front of the teenagers in my midst. I can’t change teenagers—that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. I’m not directly in the transformation business; I’m in the transformation hosting business.
Hosting is a metaphor that brings up sub-metaphors like stewarding (“How do I steward the time I have with teenagers in a way that best exposes them to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit?”), curation (“How can I highlight and bring attention to the good stuff God is already doing in the world and in the lives of teenagers?”), and evangelist.
Wait—did I just write evangelist?
Yup—but I don’t mean it in the way you might think. I mean it in the same way that Apple might have an evangelist on staff. My role as a youth worker is to be the evangelist for teenagers in my church. I am the lead banner-waver for teenagers in my congregation (or one of them, since I’m on a team), reminding people in the congregation of their responsibility to collectively engage with the teenagers in their midst.