I do not condone altering the scriptures. To change God’s Word is a serious offense, (see Revelation 22:18-19). That was not my goal or intention for writing. Rather, I would hope that you see this written work as a practical paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 as it is applied to the Youth Pastor. Though I preach every week, a well thought out sermon for which I have studied hours on end, and have not love, I am just another lecturer. And though I have the gift of creativity, and a sense of humor, so that I could make the coldest heart merry with laughter; and though I have all the teenager’s attention, and have not love, I am just another entertainer; a clown.
And though I devote my personal time to plan fun activities, and though I make personal sacrifices to ensure my teenagers have a good time, and have not love, I am just another party planner.
Love suffers long when a teenager continually scorns all your hard work. Love is kind when the parent of a teenager criticizes you and talks about you behind your back. Love is not envious of other youth pastors that seem to have the ideal youth group. Love is cancelling your plans for a quiet evening when a teenager says they need to talk. Love is not looking down your nose at a teenager because of a mistake they’ve made, because truthfully, you’ve made those same mistakes.
Love is not taking out your anger out on a teenager when they continually hurt you. Love is going out of your way to make the new or awkward teenager feel like they are a part of the group. Love is unchanged when teenagers make slanderous, untrue comments about you to their peers. Love is not resentful of the teenager that cannot follow the rules week after week.
Love does not rejoice when the “problem” teen’s family moves away. Rather, love rejoices when a teenager, even the rebel, makes a conscious decision to come to church. Love bears all the burdens teenagers and their parents place on the youth pastor. Love believes that God can work in the heart of even the hardest teenager. Love has the hope that no teenager is too far gone. Love endures every bitter trial that a youth pastor is going to face.
Jesse Maxwell | Youth Pastor
Landmark Baptist Church | Haines City, Fl