I’m a pastor who works with youth, so I have a small community of teenagers who see me for about an hour once a week. Some of them spend extended periods with me, like for a weekend retreat or a mission trip. But in most of their experience I’m a person they interact with for less than 60 minutes on Sunday morning.
My daughter is 10, and last summer she took up competitive cheer. She spends four hours per week (more during competition season) with her teammates and her coach, a sweet person who, with her jet black hair and cut arms covered in tattoos, makes a parent think twice about asking too many questions. Last night the coach called the team “her babies” to me, a designation I don’t love and that I would never make about the youth in my charge. But it says something about the care she has for the kids she works with.
Many of us in youth ministry are bit players in an ensemble of adults who care about the teenagers we know. That feels like good news.