I ran across this picture of the “Perfect Employee” on Guy Kawasaki’s blog.  This guy has a, “Modern haircut with a touch of gray that boasts of knowledge and wisdom,” a, “Family picture . . . always in his front pocket,” and, my personal favorite, he, “Wins the air-guitar contest evey year at the company picnic – last year’s song: ‘Sweet Child of Mine.'”

This reminded me of a blog I read once called, “The Perfect Youth Ministry Leader” – a quiz one takes to find out if they are “An Intern” or an “Epic Legend” in youth ministry.  In this list, the youth worker must have, “. .  .the ‘side hug’ down to a science,” and have, “. . . a verse tattooed somewhere on his body (+2 points for Hebrew words).”

Satire aside, what attributes would you place on the perfect youth minister?  Here are a few that I came up with:

  1. Knows that he/she is not the Savior of students.
  2. His/Her investment in students is long-term; knowing that fruit takes a good deal time to grow.
  3. Knows that the “perfect youth worker” does not exist and he/she determines their worth based on what Christ thinks of them, not the points on the “cool scale” they can accumulate by having the proper amount of facial hair or Christian t-shirts.

Prodigal Son.  Bankrupt.  Sick.  Hungry.  Eating pig food. Envying his Father’s servants.

Why student ministry?  Students will face pig troughs in life. 

“When he came to his senses . . . he got up and went to his father” (Luke 15:17-20).

Why student ministry?  Students need memories of adults acting for their Father to help them find their way back.

Sunday afternoon cookouts at Jack’s house.  Leon, our smiling Sunday School teacher.  Curt’s basement, where I devoted my life to full time Christian ministry.  My youth sponsors’ actions when I was young helped pave a road for me with memories of my Father.

Why student ministry? There is no magic number of memories which guarantee a student will return.

This is why it is so important to take that student out for a Coke, or teach that Sunday School class week after week, or go to that wrestling match (even though watching two sweaty teenage boys in spandex flopping around on a mat is not your idea of fun). With every bit of asphalt we lay for a student, we help make the Father easier to come back to.

Have you faced any pig troughs?  Which people helped pave your road back to the Father?