I clearly remember the first time I attended a national gathering of Presbyterian youth workers. As a college student, I had just begun serving as a youth leader in a local congregation. I knew I had a passion for youth ministry, but had no idea that anyone else shared that passion.
You can imagine how blown away I was when I walked into a hotel ballroom filled with 200+ people who were also passionate about ministry with youth. With so many people to meet and so much to learn, I slept very little that week. I had found my people and, over the years, I discovered that I needed those people.
If you're reading this, my guess is that you've had a similar experience. Maybe not at a conference with tons of people, but maybe a quiet conversation with another youth worker or with a team of volunteers who are reflecting together on a recent ministry experience. The truth is that youth workers need each other. And, though it's helpful to have people with whom you can share ideas and best practices, the need goes much deeper. Whether you're paid or volunteer, your passion for youth ministry sets you apart. Not everyone understands the deep well from which passion for youth ministry rises.
As a mentor from that first gathering that I attended taught me, "When you're a youth worker, you 'bleed' for and with the young people around you. The best way to stay healthy, is to be with people who understand this peculiar calling and that's why we're here!"That's why PYWA is here. We exist because we need each other to do the work that God has called us to do. We're here because all youth workers—volunteer, paid, full-time, part-time, all of us—need to be in community to be healthy. We're here to create a space for renewal together. We're here to huddle together to fulfill our peculiar callings.
How can PYWA create connect, uphold, and inspire you in the months ahead so you can be faithful to what God has called you to do in ministry with youth?