This pastoral passage was first written for LRBC on June 7 2015. The ‘younger youth group leader’ mentioned went on to replace me as our church’s youth pastor in 2020.
Recently I have been challenged by the writings of Richard Baxter on pastoral ministry (Google him). Baxter was a minister who believed that his most important task as a pastor was to meet with families and individuals so that he could personally tend to their pastoral care, instruction and discipleship. He held that this was so important that he said if he couldn’t manage to regularly meet his whole church parish he would ‘tighten his belt’ so he could pay for a pastoral assistant!
This challenge surfaced again at HM Rage (a large youth camp) last weekend. I need to meet with many individuals from youth group for their pastoral care, instruction and discipleship. Seeing them all together as a group once or twice a week can’t do that. One of the biggest encouragements for me from camp was hearing that one of my younger youth group leaders had met up with one of the boys in his small group after school to encourage him in his newly-emerging faith – and on his own initiative! I was very pleased to hear of this.
Jesus said: “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into the harvest” (Matt. 9:37f). Could you please pray for such labourers? Not only for the youth ministry, but for all the ministries at our church. And not only pray, but could you also be ready to do the same when the Lord puts someone next to you to shepherd along the path of Christian discipleship?