This was my article for the Tasmanian Anglican last month.

The key to any ministry, and it’s no different with youth ministry, is relationships. In my experience it is through the building of relationships that I have grown most personally, and it’s through relationships that I have seen others grow most in my work in ministry. As we take the first steps from Synod, implementing the strategy of the Youth Taskforce, I want to take a moment to remind us to focus on relationships. Not on youth events or youth ministry staff or youth resources – all of which are important and will greatly assist us in reaching out to young people – but we must always be reminded that our first priority, our number one job, is to build relationships where we can, and share with others the story of Jesus.

Most of us would all know some young high school aged people in our communities on some level. Maybe it’s through a sporting club, your local school, your next door neighbours, your grandchildren, or nieces or nephews, your own children. Some of these young people may even look up to us. However, something I’ve noticed is that we have often never talked about Jesus with these young people who we interact with. Often we make it sound too hard thinking and even expressing feelings like, “they won’t like me if I mention my faith”, or “I will sound stupid”, or “they won’t take me seriously” or “I might turn them off God”. I too have struggled with such thoughts. However, in my experience, those thoughts and fears we have usually are a reflection on our own insecurities and faith, rather than based on any reality about how others will act or think.

We all know young people, and we all have a role to play in reaching out to them with the story of Jesus. Don’t be shy, but rather bold. Express your faith in a real and meaningful way with the young people who you already have a pre-existing relationship with and trust the Holy Spirit to work. I believe that is a great place for all of us to start doing youth ministry.

And in my experience, it’s easier and a lot more rewarding than you think it will be!