September 16, 2014
CALL TO PRAYER: You -- a youth worker?
Art Toalston
Posted on Aug 23, 2013

Email this Story

My Name*:
My Email*:
  Enter list of email recipients, one address per box
Recipient 1*
Recipient 2
Recipient 3
Recipient 4
Recipient 5
To fight spam-bots, we need to verify you're a real human user.
Please enter your answer below:
Who was the first man?
  * = Required Fields Close
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is part of the call to prayer issued by Frank S. Page, president of the SBC Executive Committee, to pray for revival and spiritual awakening in our churches, our nation and our world during 2013. Baptist Press is carrying First-Person articles during the year encouraging Southern Baptists in specific areas and for specific needs to pray to the Father for spiritual awakening.

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Why don't you join me as a youth worker who, admittedly, is out of his element?

Pray about it. Seriously pray about it.

You might even become a good youth worker. Or one who's pretty decent at it.

I've worked in our church's youth ministry for about five years. I generally take attendance, make a bit of small talk with the middle school boys, try to be attentive as the lesson is taught and, on occasion, I pray at the end of the session.

I've also taught the lesson about a half-dozen times and have improved a bit.

But I like the praying role. The guys are quiet and I can pour out a bit of my heart for them.

Everybody's been patient and kind with me. And they've offered lots of encouragement.

Even though I'm not a great youth worker, at least I am one. Previously, I was an "attendee" on Wednesday nights. I went to a men's Bible study for a time followed by a study on biblical stewardship.

Then came the conversation that went kind of like this:

God: How long are you going to keep going to these studies?

Me: I don't really know.

God: How about, instead, actually doing something?

Me: You mean get involved in our youth ministry?

God: That's right.

So I volunteered. First I sat in with a truly good youth worker, then another. It was awkward. What do I know about boys? Our daughter, what a pleasure; these boys, what a challenge.

I've sought to be an example to the boys and have had a chance to ask a few of them about whether they're connected to God.

Over time, something marvelous has happened: I've begun to see middle school boys as genuine human beings. I can talk with them, at least to an extent I never thought possible. I'm not afraid of them. I'm praying for them at a pivotal juncture when their lives are wide open.

And I'm seeing lots of other ways to be mindful and prayerful for young people.

I know the importance of praying for:

-- Today's students -- those in middle school and high school as well as those venturing off to college, asking God to keep their hearts tender toward Him in this era of cultural lostness, asking God to bring a flow of witnesses into their lives who will nuture them as agents of God's redemptive mission on earth.

-- Today's educators -- those who are in public and private schools and those who engage in homeschooling, asking God to give them divine wisdom and a mighty dose of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

-- Our church youth ministry leaders -- those volunteers and, in larger churches, those staff members who know the critical importance of nurturing the next generation of citizens who, amid the unfolding moral chaos and corruption, will shine the light of God's winsome Gospel across North America and throughout the world.

Amid the excitement of a new church year, have you considered serving as a volunteer? Courageously pray about it. And even if the Lord doesn't lead you to trek into your church's youth group, you can still pray. Our students, our educators, our youth ministry need your prayers. After all, God is the one who hears our prayers as we seek His hope for our nation and our world.
Art Toalston (@arttoalston on Twitter) is editor of Baptist Press and author of two ebooks on prayer, When I Meditate and Meditation & Morality (
Latest Stories
  • Busy moms discover how God uses everyday life for ministry
  • Religious liberty needed to limit state
  • Freddie Gage, 6 decades an evangelist, dies
  • Texas abortion law ruling expected this week
  • Autism, special needs embraced by church
  • 2nd VIEW: Northern Iraqis 'just like us' & need help
  • FIRST-PERSON: Working, waiting until Jesus comes again
  • Add Baptist Press to
    your news reader


     © Copyright 2014 Baptist Press. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use.

    Southern Baptist Convention