Youth-ministryI am in youth ministry because of one conversation.

OK, that isn’t entirely true—I’m in youth ministry because of a myriad of things: being raised well by godly parents; shaping moments throughout my childhood by amazing Christian men and women; seeing the need for leadership and love in the life of a teenager; and my own specific passion and shape.

But I do remember one specific conversation with a guy named Jerry. Jerry was the dean of men at the Bible college I went to, and one of two very influential men at that school for me (the other being the football coach and Bible teacher, Terry).

One day, Jerry said to me, “Why are you going into business when you were made to be a youth pastor? I can totally see it in every aspect of your life and heart.” Then he laughed a little, shrugged and moved on.

But I couldn’t shrug off our conversation—it stuck with me and I began to wrestle, pray and get counsel about this possible direction for my life. Sounds a little more dramatic than it actually was, honestly, but 20 years later, I’m still in youth ministry and loving it.

All that to say this: Every year I make it a point to ask God to help me interact with a couple of students who need to be “called to youth ministry.” I look in our ministry, or try to be discerning at an event, and talk to a teenager who has the potential to do incredible things as a youth worker.

Sometimes it has been spot-on, and that person is now in youth ministry. Sometimes I’ve missed them altogether, and a kid I never expected to be a youth pastor enters the field. Sometimes it is an epic fail, and that person leaves the church altogether.

But my win/loss record isn’t what is important—it is the conversation that counts!

For the original article, visit

Josh Griffin has been in youth ministry for 16-plus years in one small church and one big church. He currently serves as the High School Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. His original blogs can be found at

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